BOXING does so much for young people it seems almost negligent that it isn’t taught in schools.
Here in Bolton we have such a vibrant amateur boxing scene, it is seen as an integral part of the town’s sporting network.
There are six or seven amateur clubs within walking distance of the town centre alone, and they have an abundance of youngsters flooding through their doors to learn how to box and do the fitness routines specific to the sport.
We have half a dozen Bolton professionals currently earning either a modest pay day or a decent living from the sport.
Only this week Haroon Khan won his fourth fight as a professional, maintaining his 100 per cent record in the paid game, while his brother, Amir, took a step closer to the biggest fight of his life against the world’s greatest boxer of the modern age, Floyd Mayweather.
Go into any of these clubs in our town and you will see youngsters. They may never have actually got into the ring to fight or spar, and may never intend to.
But they are gaining the benefits of being in an environment which teaches discipline probably better than any other sport on the planet.
Not only that, they are also getting fit, losing fat and taking a pride in themselves from putting their bodies and minds through the rigorous training associated with the sport.
Punching bags and pads get the heart beating and the blood pumping through the veins.
It makes you look and feel better.
You hear stories all the time about how boxing has turned people’s lives around. How people who strayed from the straight and narrow got their lives back on course thanks to the discipline they learned in the boxing ring or gym.
Olympic super heavyweight gold medallist Anthony Joshua said this week he believed the sport should be introduced into all schools, and he’s spot on.
It doesn’t mean we should put kids in the ring and get them involved in full contact boxing, but introduce them to the training and discipline associated with the sport. It could do them a lot of good one day.
In the short term, getting them punching bags and pads will get their hearts pumping.
Kids get all too little cardiovascular exercise these days sitting on their backsides pushing buttons on handsets to move digital footballers and soldiers.
Too many parents and teachers sit idly by while the kids in their care grow fat and mentally stale with their heads in a smartphone.
They would do well to take advice from an Olympic gold medallist and point them to the nearest boxing club. There are plenty of them in Bolton.