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Boxing in schools has both its critics and crusaders. But fighting aside they all agree the training element is a valuable addition to any youngster’s development and wellbeing.

 

WALESONLINE

Put boxing on school curriculum, says Calzaghe

A FLURRY of punches thrown in the playground generally has just one outcome: detention.

But teachers will soon be instructing their pupils to fight each other – if world champion boxer Joe Calzaghe gets his way.

The two-weight champ – one of Wales’ greatest sportsmen of all time – believes boxing should be a core component of the national curriculum, because of the level of discipline, fitness and concentration it engenders.

“Too many kids of 14 or 15 years old are getting drunk because they have nothing to do – boxing would take away unwanted aggression and give them something to aim for,” he said. “Amateur boxing training should be mandatory in schools because it would really benefit children.

“Too many inflict damage on themselves by over-eating. Amateur boxing is one of the safest sports around.

“Boxing gets a bad press too often. It’s a fantastic sport. I am not an aggressive person. I am a disciplined, chilled and relaxed guy.”

Calzaghe has two sons – Joseph, 14, and 11-year-old Conner – and encourages them to become involved in boxing training.

“On a personal level I probably wouldn’t want my boys to box professionally,” said Calzaghe. “But I do encourage them to get into boxing training – they both go along.

“It keeps them fit. They are able to look after themselves if the need arises. When I go into the ring I don’t hate opponents and I certainly don’t want to hurt them.

“My aim is to win the contest, of course, but all the aggression during the build up to fights is all put on.”

While boxing is commonly perceived as a dangerous sport, it is no worse than other sports, Calzaghe added.

“A friend of mine and I grew up with boxing,” he said.

“We were in the ABA Championships at the same time didn’t suffer a bad injury while boxing, but he took part in a friendly rugby match, got into the scrum and suffered a serious back injury.

“He’s paralysed. I’m not having a go at rugby, but boxing is not as dangerous as is sometimes made out.

“It’s great for kids; great for everybody.

“In Wales it’s a sport on the up. It’s gaining in popularity again. Maybe that’s down to my success in the ring and if that’s the case then fantastic. Boxing can be used as a means of controlling aggression.

“There used to be national service in the Army or another branch of the armed forces – nothing has replaced that.”

Calzaghe’s plan was last night welcomed by the teaching community.

Steve Grech, head of boys’ PE at Mary Immaculate School in Cardiff, said: “Every PE teacher’s priority should be giving pupils as much opportunity across all sports.

“I don’t think full contact could have a place in schools but in terms of performance levels, fitness and lifestyle, pupils could learn a lot about what it takes to achieve a certain goal.

“Boxercising is one way of introducing it and I know girls are very interested in this – it’s a good way to relieve stress and aggression.”

Robert Smith, general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control, said he was in full agreement with Calzaghe and the board would assist in any way it could.

Retired teacher Wynford Jones, 59, is a boxing author, referee and was head of music at Ferndale Comprehensive School in Rhondda from 1991 to 2003.

He agreed with Calzaghe’s assessment.

“It’s no secret that we had some very difficult pupils at the school who would have benefited from boxing,” he said.

“It wasn’t politically correct to have it on the curriculum, but I’m absolutely convinced it would have done some youngsters the world of good in teaching self-discipline and respect for authority.

“Some people are so against boxing but they need to open their eyes to its benefits.”

Professor John Fairclough is consultant orthopaedic surgeon at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and has always been involved in sport.

He said: “I think what Joe is talking about is introducing boxing in schools with all its safety elements.

“He’s absolutely correct. We’re not talking about three and four year olds, but teenagers. The British Medical Association is against boxing, but that’s to broad a brush for actually use.

“Boxing, in my opinion, doesn’t carry any specific concern as long as it’s carried out with all the precautions.”

A spokeswoman for the Sports Council for Wales said it was important schools adopted a broad range of activities.

“There are many opportunities to get involved in boxing outside of the curriculum and within the community,” she said.

“There have been some successful boxing schemes in various areas of Wales as part of the Sports Council for Wales’ 5×60 programme, which aims to encourage young people to undertake 60 minutes of physical activity five times a week.”

 

MIRROR

LINK TO ARTICLE: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/boxing-in-schools-is-a-good-thing-412668

Boxing in schools is a good thing

The best news I have heard in ages is that boxing is making a comeback in British schools.

Tony Parsons

Tony Parsons

The best news I have heard in ages is that boxing is making a comeback in British schools.

The first inter-school contests since the mid-60s have taken place in Plymouth and Manchester. More are planned for the winter term.

And nothing is more guaranteed to reduce the brainless yobbery that infests every corner of our lives.

Because boxing is not about beating someone’s brains out. Boxing is the noble art of self-defence, not the noble art of knocking the crap out of someone.

It teaches discipline, courage, stoicism, restraint and respect – for yourself and others. You don’t come out of a boxing gym and smash up a

bus shelter or mug an old lady.

The sport boosts fitness, self-esteem and confidence. A kid who’s learning boxing is unlikely to be a kid who carries a knife.

The Schools Amateur Boxing Association has trained teachers in 45 schools across the country and those teachers have, in turn, coached dozens of students.

Mike Carpenter, of the Sir John Hunt Community Sports College, helped organise the event in Plymouth.

Mike says: “Over 20 two-minute bouts took place with all pupils displaying tremendous discipline, courage and skill.

“If carefully managed, and if the right pupils are chosen, the sport is far less dangerous than football and rugby matches I have witnessed.”

No one could ever pretend that boxing is pain-free.

Yet if it teaches kids how to take a knock, grit their teeth and carry on, then that’s not such a bad lesson to learn, is it?