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Frampton and Barnes head to prison – Best mates help inmates

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Carl Frampton and Paddy Barnes headed to prison this week.

The best mates are hoping to use boxing to help inmates and change lives of a number of young prisoners via the sport.

The two time Olympic medal winner and two time world champion visited Hydebank Wood young offenders’ centre and women’s prison in Belfast with Justice Minister Naomi Long last week.

The pair are lending their support to a rehabilitation project to teach offenders the skills of their sport.

The course was delivered by the Ulster Boxing Council and the Irish Athletic boxing association in Hydebank – a prison that houses inmates aged between 18-21- and there are plans to roll it out in other prisons if it proves successful.

“I learned a lot from boxing by listening to my coaches and working hard and I’m sure it has been the same for the people taking part in this programme,” Barnes explains.

“When you talk about knockbacks, some things don’t go your way and it’s about how you rebuild yourself and keep pushing forward.”

Frampton added the sport would help young people learn about “respect and self-respect”.

“I think something that has been lost in our generation is respect and boxing teaches that,” he said.

“People can change their opinions and outlook on life and I think that these people, obviously they are in here for a reason, but through initiatives like this they can come out better.”

Course coach Louise Walsh told BBC News NI she had seen a positive impact on those who had taken part and the governor of Hydebank Gary Milling agreed.

“The mood in here has really lifted and I’ve seen a real difference in the fitness and attitude of those who have taken part,” she said.

“We are looking to say to people, ‘look if you have a dream and if you believe in yourself. If you have a plan and you’re prepared to put the hard work in then anything is possible’.

“Look at these two guys who come from our community and have made a success of their lives and despite knockbacks.

“If you’re able to pick yourself up, stick to that plan and keep believing yourself, then you can achieve something,” added Milling.


Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com