Belfast’s Carl Frampton has urged possible ‘world champions of the future’ to stick with boxing despite the challenges arising from current Covid-19 restrictions.
‘The Jackal’ fears young amateurs may be tempted away from the sport with gyms closed due to restrictions.
The three weight world title hopeful, suggests he may have focused on football if he was a teen in the current climate.
The 33-year-old is hopeful the current teenage amateur crop won’t be frustrated into hanging them up and will stick with it regardless.
“At 14, I was as happy playing football as I was boxing,” he told Radio 5 Live.
“I was always better at boxing but I loved football. I think if this [the coronavirus pandemic] had happened to me and I wasn’t able to access the gym or access my coaching, then I’m pretty sure I would have focused on football.
“I don’t think I would have gone very far in football – maybe Irish League level at my very best.
Our amateur boxing clubs need help! They are the life blood of our communities!— Carl Frampton MBE (@RealCFrampton) November 25, 2020
Please listen to the @5liveSport #SaveOurSport episode with @ColinMurray, @Nigel_Travis, Hamden (@mosssidefirebox) and myself.
9mins 30sec in 👇https://t.co/4kvX7bUgxc
“It’s a shame that this is happening, but it is important that the kids understand that it will get sorted some time soon, and hopefully these talented young kids will stick it out and go on to become world champions in the future.”
Frampton is also concerned for the well being of the clubs that service the youth, particularly in Northern Ireland and particularly after boxing wasn’t a sport the UK government provided funds for in their £300m rescue package.
“I am still very closely affiliated with my old amateur club, Midland ABC in Tigers Bay, north Belfast, and I know they are struggling,” he continued.
“The clubs rely on kids coming in through the door. They do not pay a lot of money to come in, probably only £1 a night, but that keeps them afloat.
“The amateur coaches are having to put their hand in their pocket and try and pay rent. It’s just a real struggle for all clubs and it’s a shame.
“Boxing is a working-class sport, you see all the success stories about how boxing has taken kids away from a life of crime and I don’t see any help or support coming for them.”