By Andrew Wake
The hardest sport is full of the kindest people. It’s almost a paradox but those who are involved in the pain game are often the softest and caring most caring individuals around once they step out of the ring.
Boxing has a long tradition of helping those in need and in most inner city districts you do not have to travel far to see the good things the sport has done for the local community.
Now a new project has started in North-East London which hopes to help people who have suffered with mental illnesses.
Sweet Science 4 Life is the brainchild of former English super-bantamweight champion Marc Callaghan and boxing journalist Danny Coyne. The concept is to help those with mental issues regain their confidence through boxing training and boxercise.
“What we’ve decided to do is a cardiovascular circuit around the concept of boxing because people doing punching gets out the anger and frustration,” Coyne explained.
“There’s a lot of people affected by mental health, a lot of them ex-soldiers and boxing releases endorphins, it makes people feel good and allows them to release controlled aggression.”
Both Callaghan and Coyne have themselves suffered from problems in their personal lives so it is clearly a project that is close to their hearts.
“We’ve both had mental health issues, Marc has had depression and I was diagnosed with the same disorder as Frank Bruno, bi-polar,” Coyne explained.
“I work part-time for the NHS as a recruitment consultant and Marc is a coach for Fight for Peace ABC in North Woolwich, which is also a registered charity, and one day we just thought ‘why don’t we set something up?’”
And support from the boxing community has come in thick and fast for the project since. Jane Couch MBE recently gave Sweet Science 4 Life a plug on her Youtube channel, while a number of fighters have given their backing on Facebook.
But quite possibly the man who will be able to help the project most in terms of organising funding is former British and European super-middleweight champion James Cook MBE.
“I’ve known James a long time and he’s agreed to be our chairman,” Coyne revealed.
“He’s the honorary treasurer for his own boxing and youth club, which is also a registered charity and we’re happy to have him involved because he’s got experience in dealing with vulnerable people and he knows how to get us support.”