FOR MANY months Ringside Charitable Trust (RCT) had been organising a press conference which was to take place on Thursday July 28. The purpose was to raise awareness about what we, the only registered charity in existence to help ex-boxers, are doing in an effort to get the entire sport working together for a common goal.
With only one week to go, and with everything in place, we were informed by several members of the media that the organisers of the proposed Chris Eubank Jnr-Conor Benn contest were hoping to stage a press conference on the very same day. It meant that the majority of journalists who had agreed to attend our event wouldn’t be able to should the Eubank-Benn presser have gone ahead. With the danger of our event being completely overshadowed, we therefore felt we had no choice but to cancel. I’m sure anyone involved in staging events like the one we were planning understands the significant costs involved of cancelling them at short notice. That cost, by the way, came only from the pockets of the trustees and not from the charity itself.
In the end, the Eubank-Benn presser did not occur. I don’t doubt that couldn’t be helped. Nor do I believe that the organisers were trying to ‘gazump’ our event but it does certainly highlight how far away we are from their thoughts. Which is a great shame. Again, we are not the enemy, we are not a rival, we are merely trying to act for the good of the boxers who gave so much to our sport. That, surely, should be something everyone involved in boxing supports.
Out of all the major promoters we reached out to, the only positive response we had was from Ben Shalom. We thank him for that, it speaks volumes for his character, and we look forward to seeing him on our rearranged date of September 1.
For the past four years we have done everything in our power to work with the leading promoters to ensure a future for those boxers who are struggling in their retirement, many needing residential care, but nearly always we have been met with a wall of silence. We have always worked hard to ensure that our fundraising and awareness-raising activities have never directly conflicted with any major promotion or boxing event.
Leading promoters and elite boxers, I ask the question why there has and continues to be so little support for RCT, the only charity to help fighters in British boxing? RCT are there to support, and aim to offer an after care system to the many boxers who are struggling to survive with mental illness, pugilistic dementia and other issues in their retirement. I implore you all to give us a tiny bit of your time just to listen. Then hopefully in the long-term, to ensure that, as a sport, we collectively look after our own. And on behalf of all those in need, I am calling on you all.
Will we continue to be met with the ongoing wall of silence? For the love of our sport, and to send the right message to everyone outside of boxing, I truly hope that you show that you care.
See you on September 1.