BOXING’S reputation as a sport that helps people gain a certain level of discipline has led a number of local groups to use it to help combat the growing issue of knife crime. Recently, local authority figures came together at Barking Town Hall to sign a pledge to deal with the issue in their area.
Councillors and local police officers stood side-by-side with the family of Duran Kajima, who was stabbed to death in Dagenham in November 2016 by a fellow teenager, and vowed to do something to help cut down the number of knife attacks in that borough, where there have been 1484 reported instances in the past four years .
Beatrice Mushiya, Kajima’s mother, has led the campaign and a local man called Stephen Addison has played his part by founding a group called Box Up Crime, a registered charity that tries to get people out of crime and into boxing.
“I’ve made wrong choices, but I’ve managed to turn it around, I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today, I didn’t pass my exams I got kicked out of school, but all of you could be doing this,” said Addison when speaking to the Barking and Dagenham Post. “We need to work together to achieve this change.”
It may be too late for the family of Kajima, but his mother explained that we need to turn the rising tide of knife crime in this and other areas. “He was a loveable boy,” she said.
“After his death, I cannot see him get married or go to university, all that because of knife crime. When the police asked for a picture of him, they said that the picture I gave them was too nice. I miss my son dearly, he was always smiling and dancing all over the house.”
Box Up Crime is one of a growing number of charities that wants to tap into the positive aspects of boxing: Redditch Boxing Academy and the Redditch Self-defence Association, and Liverpool’s No More Knives aim to do the same to give young people a fighting chance of falling into the traps laid by poverty, a lack of a police presence, and the increasingly sparse social opportunities afforded by modern day Britain.
In other news, the trio of wealthy men who currently sit atop the heavyweight division continue to bait and snipe at one another in the press. Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury are the names you think of when you think of heavyweight boxing, and with Wilder and Fury set to meet on December 1 for the American’s WBC title we will continue to hear a lot about them.
Despite having the “Gypsy King” on his plate at the moment, Wilder (40-, 39 KOs) continues to respond to Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) and promoter Eddie Hearn’s claims that he talked himself out of a meeting with the Londoner and has only himself to blame.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Wilder proved that he is not focusing on Joshua and Hearn by speaking about the two men; he even showed how unconcerned he is by pointing out that he is not concerned in the slightest, and certainly not troubled or interested enough to talk about them.
“We’re not focused on them, we’re not even concerned about them,” he said. “When was the last time we even said anything about them?”
Erm, just then, Deontay.
He then added: “I don’t need him to bring status to me. My status came to me because I knock people out, not because of another man.”
Joshua is unlikely to be too concerned with Wilder’s words, but may yet do an interview in which he expresses a lack of interest and/or concern. In the meantime, the 29-year-old unified titlist has been handed yet another accolade after being named in the Powerlist, a list of the 100 most powerful black people in the UK.
Joshua currently sit at number 37 on the list; he is in good company, Idris Elba, Megan Markle, and Lenny Henry are some of the names above him, and he is likely to progress even further in coming years as he continues to do good work inside and outside the ring.
News that Tyson Fury’s little brother Tommy is turning pro means that there is another “Furious One” out there. The 19-year-old is training with Ricky Hatton ahead of a December 22 debut on the undercard of Josh Warrington’s IBF featherweight title defence against Carl Frampton and his brother has told boxing fans that there is a potential new “Gypsy King” on the block while warning his sibling that he will need to earn his spot at the top table by doing things the hard way.
“I’m a big believer that if you’re good enough you will do it yourself, you don’t need anyone else,” said Fury (27-0, 19 early) when speaking to The Sun. “He can’t just jump in and be like a world champion’s brother, he has to earn his own stripes like I did.
“Is he as good as me? A lineal world heavyweight champion? The answer would be ‘No’. In 10 years, when he proves himself and he becomes the world champion, then he can compare himself. He’s only 19.”