A COMMUNITY boxing coach has defended his sport against claims that it is unsuitable for young people.
Mark Reynolds, the founder of Rawthorpe Amateur Boxing Club (RABC) says boxing as a youngster kept him out of trouble and stopped him going to prison like some of his peers.
He said: “I attended the gym due to elements outside the home that my mum and dad were not happy with.
“The group of people I knocked about with went into antisocial behaviour and got into trouble at school as well as with the police.
“Some ended up with custodial sentences.’’
Mr Reynolds’ St Andrew’s Road club has helped 17,000 people in its 13 years.
He added: “I now work in schools, colleges and with at-risk young people.
“I use the ways boxers train and the discipline of our sport to help steer them in the right direction.
“I have just delivered my first session to a Pupil Referral Unit as they also see the positive impact boxing training can have.”
Mr Reynolds, was responding to Welsh MP Paul Flynn, who said the Government should not be encouraging boxing as a sport for young people as it led to long-term brain damage.
In the Commons Mr Flynn, the Labour MP for Newport West, asked: “As boxing is unique for rewarding participants for landing blows to the head and causing damage to the most vulnerable of human organs, the brain – damage that is serious, cumulative and irreversible – shouldn’t the Government being encouraging sports that encourage athleticism without inflicting brain damage?”
Culture Minister Hugh Robertson, however, defended boxing saying: “There are many sports that contain an element of risk.
“Riding, cycling come to mind – both of which have much higher injury tallies than boxing.
“Indeed, if you looked across London 2012, the majority of people were not injured boxing, they were injured in other sports.
“Most young people like an element of risk. Particularly in deprived and inner city areas, boxing has a really important role to play in encouraging young people to take up sport and I am keen to encourage them to do so.”