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Anthony Joshua warns boxing could lose future stars amid lack of funding

Anthony Joshua warns boxing could lose future stars amid lack of funding
© Reuters
Many amateur gyms have been forced to shut through the lockdown and there are fears some could be forced to close for good.

Anthony Joshua has warned the next generation of boxing stars could be lost to the sport if it fails to gain more financial support through the coronavirus pandemic.

Many amateur gyms have been forced to shut through the lockdown and there are fears some could be forced to close for good unless more assistance is forthcoming.

Joshua, who fought at Finchley before roaring through the amateur ranks to win gold at London 2012, has made a substantial financial donation to clubs via the three home nations federations.

Boxing – GB Olympic Boxing Team Photocall – Ponds Forge
Anthony Joshua was a big part of the GB Boxing success story (Martin Rickett/PA)

Joshua said: "Boxing helped shape me, both physically and mentally. It is not 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 grass roots 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.

Anthony Joshua Lucozade Sport podcast
Anthony Joshua often returns to his club in Finchley (David Parry/PA)

"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, whose chairman Kevin Bell said: "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.

"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."

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