Successful Lincoln boxer, Nathan Decastro, has slammed the lack of financial support from the government for local clubs as a joke.
The Former World Boxing Union (WBU) and World Boxing Federation (WBF) champion, who represented Bracebridge Boxing Club, an ABAE affiliated amateur club in Lincoln, said “boxing is one of the most high-profile sports in the world and it’s basically been left for nothing.
“Look at the revenue it brings in, even myself at a local perspective with Lincoln, we’ve brought plenty of revenue for the city, it’s just a complete and utter joke.”
Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has written an open letter to sports minister Nigel Huddleston, saying amateur boxing clubs will be forced to shut down unless there is a financial bailout whilst also stressing that boxing helps reduce obesity and crime and improves mental health.
The sport has been excluded from a £300m government rescue package, with the package designed to help sports hit by a lack of spectators, leaving Lincoln boxing clubs with a bleak future as they remain restricted whilst the area remains in tier 3.
“It makes a massive difference to people’s lives; it gives them confidence and a direction in life. Anthony Joshua, before he started boxing, he was about to get sent down to prison, but now he’s set his future up and there’s hundreds of stories just like it” said Decastro.
Fox Boxing Academy in Lincoln stated that “due to being in tier 3 and no guidelines being given, we will not be opening due to not having time to take bookings.”
In tier 3 areas, people should not take part in indoor sport or physical activity with people from outside their household, including training and exercise classes. Personal training is permitted for 1:1 sessions only (unless participants are from the same household). Gyms and sport facilities will remain open, but group activities are not permitted (unless the group consists of a single household or bubble). Contact combat sports are not permitted.
Emergency funding was announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in November.
Both codes of rugby and horse racing benefitted, but sports such as boxing, cricket and snooker were excluded, as well as football clubs in the Premier League or EFL.
Undefeated at professional level, Decastro was forced to retire early from boxing, due to an eye condition, retinitis pigmentosa.
With thousands of people across the country facing the prospect of not being able to go to a boxing gym, Decastro, explained how he first felt when he knew he was unable to fight again.
“I was depressed, fed-up, I didn’t know what to do with myself. It was the worst time of my life, I’m coming to terms with it now but it’s tough.”
Fans will be allowed to return to boxing, with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom boxing agency announcing on Wednesday that 1,000 tickets will be sold for the heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev.