Homeless clubs most successful son calls on Minister for Sport Shane Ross to help

Bernard O’Neill

EUROPEAN Elite medallist Regan Buckley has appealed to the Minister for Sport Shane Ross to help the St Theresa’s Boxing Club find a permanent home.

Buckley, who has now retired, recently boxed out of the club but the unit was sold from underneath them.

“We at St.Teresas BC are currently homeless. The premises that we ran our club (from) had been sold during the lockdown without any warning given to us,” said the Wicklow outfit in part of a statement. this week.

Irish boxing is in lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the sport will not return to action until August 10 at the earliest.

The Tullow BC also announced this week that they’re closing because they cannot afford to pay their rent. Clubs cannot raise funds because of the lockdown.

There are approximately 360 boxing clubs on the island of Ireland, and up to 90% of these units are either leasing or renting their premises from private landlords.

Dominic O’Rourke, President of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA), this week appealed to landlords to be patient and flexible with clubs during the coronavirus outbreak.

Buckley announced that he was retiring from boxing earlier this year because he could not afford to train with the IABA High-Performance Unit because he was not getting any funding.

The 22-year-old light-fly said he was trying to survive on a meagre social welfare payment while training full time with High-Performance and meeting some of the world’s top Elite amateur boxers in competition.

Buckley returned to the amateur ranks after winning two fights in the pro code and claimed an Irish Elite title and European Elite bronze last year.

He said: “We’ve been running St Teresa’s Boxing club for five years. From the beginning, it’s been a constant struggle to secure a permanent home for the club. 

“As it stands now, we have nowhere to go and if we don’t find something the club may close. We’re home to many Leinster and Irish champions, elite and international level boxers and some of the best up and coming kids in the country.

“Boxing is a way of life for our members and is a way of keeping them off the streets. We plead to the local authorities, the IABA, and Minister Shane Ross to support us in finding a permanent premises so we don’t have to close our doors for good and can continue to have a positive effect on our community.”

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Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years