Game On change face of boxing

IPSWICH boxing coach Steve Crawford believes that perceptions of the sport are finally changing for the better.

Stuart Watson

IPSWICH boxing coach Steve Crawford believes that perceptions of the sport are finally changing for the better.

Ipswich Borough Council's sports initiative Team Ipswich and social inclusion programme Positive Futures have joined forces once again this year to provide 'Game On' - a series of free coaching sessions held over the school holidays in the five different sports of football, boxing, street dance, martial arts and basketball.

It is the second year boxing - provided in a purely non-contact format - has been included on the schedule and it has proved ever-popular with over 50 children attending some sessions.

Crawford, head coach at St Helens Boxing Club, has been delighted by the uptake and believes it is all down to a greater understanding of the sport.

He said: “We have found that a lot of children have been maybe getting a little bit bored with karate and have decided to give the boxing a go this year while it is available for free.

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“As a result we've been getting a lot of feedback from parents who have said that, if it hadn't been for these sessions, they would never have thought about boxing for their children.

“People have realised that boxing isn't all about bashing each other up. Everyone thinks of Rocky Balboa when they think of boxing and turn up expecting to see me with a nose spread across my face and scars everywhere but that is simply not the case.

“You don't ever have to get into a ring if you don't want to. All of the 'Game On' sessions are non-contact and just provide a fun workout. We've even had a lot of girls come along over the past few weeks.

“Boxing allows them to have a bit of fun without having to go for belts or grades and having to stick to a strict regime.”

Crawford added: “Because of the nature of the sport we find it is a really positive activity for certain youngsters who may be struggling socially.

“We teach them to have self-esteem and they have to learn how to take responsibility for their own training because the life of a boxer can be quite lonely sometimes.

“I've seen kids turn up here that are at a real low, they are just anti-everything and would barely speak to anyone. After a few weeks though I have seen some of the older ones taking an interest in what goes on around them and even going out and getting jobs. For me that's what this is all about.”

The free 'Game On' sessions continue up until Friday this week. For a full list of venues and times please e-mail:, or call: 01473 433542.