Britain’s world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has made a substantial donation to boxing gyms as the 2012 Olympic gold medallist fears many may go out of business due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Numerous amateur gyms have been forced to shut temporarily through the lockdown and Joshua is concerned that many amateur boxers will have to hang up their gloves if some were to close permanently.
Joshua is the latest high-profile boxing personality to voice his fears following that of his promoter Eddie Hearn and Northern Ireland’s former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton.
Joshua, who retained his world title belts with a ninth-round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev earlier this month, has made his donation to clubs via the three home nations’ federations.
“Boxing helped shape me, both physically and mentally,” said Joshua.
“It is no secret that without boxing and the family created around my amateur gym, my life could have been very different.
“The sport has given me a lot and I want to help highlight the issues affecting grassroots clubs and do what I can to keep the lights on for those most in need.
“I am not using this as an opportunity to criticise government for its lack of funding towards boxing — these are unprecedented times — however I would like to use my platform to respectfully ask them to rethink their stance.
“Without support we will lose community hubs and potentially the stars of tomorrow.”
The funding will be distributed to clubs via England Boxing, Welsh Boxing and Boxing Scotland.
Kevin Bell, chairman of Boxing Scotland, praised Joshua for not forgetting his roots.
“It is to Anthony’s great credit that he recognises the impact of Covid-19 on amateur boxing, from loss of training among boxers to the inability to host shows that sustain clubs financially,” said Bell.
“It is also the hallmark of a true world and Olympic champion that he has proactively sought to help amateur boxing — which he acknowledges played a significant role in his career — during this ongoing period of uncertainty.”