English promoter and MD of Matchroom Sport Eddie Hearn has recently expressed his disappointment at the UK Government for not lending a hand at the development of grassroots boxing in the country.
The UK Govt has decided on a £300 million support package for 11 different sports who are at risk of losing massive revenue in the winter season, recently announced by Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston.
Among the sports, rugby union and horse racing are going to be the biggest beneficiaries, with £135 million and £40 million support packages respectively. However, there has been no support announced for amateur boxing clubs in the country which has irked Eddie Hearn.
Eddie Hearn “disgusted” over grassroots boxing being excluded from the Govt’s support package
At the launch of The National Lottery and ITV’s Miss Out to Help Out project, Eddie Hearn expressed his discontent over the matter to The Independent.
“It’s so disgusting that the government are not supporting grassroots boxing,” Hearn said, “a huge amount of money is going into rugby and horse racing, yet nothing into a sport that’s saving people’s lives and that’s because they’re so far removed from those communities.”
Due to the pandemic, a number of amateur boxing clubs in the UK have closed down, while others have resorted to financial aid from local businesses to survive. On the other hand, smaller boxing promoters are unable to bring in live crowds as the COVID-19 protocols prohibit that, which is why Hearn reprimands the decision.
“They have no idea what boxing does in the community. They’ve never been to an ABC boxing club. You would only have to walk into one to see the kind of kids who are in there” Hearn went on, narrating how boxing has benefitted the youngsters, who he claims won’t be attracted to rugby or horse racing.
“It’s keeping kids off the street, it’s keeping them physically in shape, mentally focused, it’s keeping them driven. Yet you want to put money into horse racing.”
“These kids aren’t going to gravitate towards horse racing or rugby. There’s too many barriers to entry. You can walk into a boxing club around the corner in your community and change your life,” Hearn added.