WHILE professional boxers and the Olympic squad have been able to train, it’s been a long, hard lockdown for the rest of amateur boxing. But at least now the first step on the return to boxing framework can be taken. From Monday (March 29) in England both adults and under 18s can do padwork outdoors, providing they strictly adhere to guidelines set by DCMS and laid out by England Boxing in its return to boxing framework. This would be one to one between boxer and coach.
This training is permitted as part of organised sport, which is sport formally organised by a qualified instructor, club, national governing body, company or charity and which follows sport-specific guidance. Taking part in organised sport sometimes means that other restrictions such as legal gathering limits don’t apply when taking part. This is because the organising body has considered the risks and set out ways to mitigate them so people can participate safely. Informal or self-organised sport is not covered by any exemptions.
For organised outdoor sport there are no specific limits on numbers. However, social distancing and other Covid-19 guidelines (such as the rule of six) must be maintained when not specifically training. The sessions themselves must also remain socially distanced except for the pad work.
“After a year without full activity, and whilst there will be understandable demand for sparring, boxers will return at different levels of fitness and preparation. So, for the first two weeks up until April 12, it has been agreed that all boxers shall start with phase one, which includes pad work,” England Boxing said. “This also takes into account not only the significant safety considerations, but also the fact that activity is only permitted outside. It will also give time for clubs to get all the registrations – coaches and boxers, medicals etc. – in place. It will also allow clubs to set up the necessary mitigation, protective equipment and procedures.”
The next stage in the return to boxing comes on April 12. The hope is that these first step guidelines will be permitted indoors but the government and DCMS should confirm what’s allowed at this stage one week before the scheduled move to this step. This step will not be before April 12.
There is no projected date yet for when competitive boxing and international trips will be able to come back.
In Wales “stay at home” has changed to “stay local”, allowing people to drive to begin exercise at a local location, usually less than five miles. Organised outdoor activities for children were allowed to begin on March 27. Indoor sporting facilities, such as boxing clubs, have to remain closed but the Welsh ABA hopes to hear more on changes to this in April. These will be socially distanced, unlimited numbers for under 18s but no more than two coaches and no padwork, no sparring and no shared equipment.
Boxing Scotland has been working to liaise with both Public Health Scotland and Sport Scotland in order to facilitate boxing’s return and follow the latest Scottish Government advice. Currently padwork for adults outdoors is not permitted nor is indoor training. The next update is expected in April.
The return to training remains an arduous path for boxing clubs, demanding on stretched finances as they have had to keep their doors closed. There are some grants available for clubs. The Anthony Joshua fund has been accepting applications. The Tackling Inequalities fund aims to ease the financial burden on clubs in the country’s most deprived communities. Over 100 England Boxing-affiliated clubs have now secured grants from Sport England’s Return To Play Fund – with those who have not yet applied actively encouraged to see if they are eligible. Even if clubs don’t meet the criteria for the Tackling Inequalities Fund or the Anthony Joshua Fund, then it is strongly recommended that they investigate applying for the Return to Play Fund, if they haven’t done so already. For more information on these grants see HERE.