A CHAIRMAN has picked his corner after boxing promoter Eddie Hearn went toe to toe with the CEO of a brain injury charity on ITV's Good Morning Britain yesterday.

Bob Smytherman, chairman of governors at the Alternative Provision College, which has seven sites across Sussex, showed his support for Hearn’s corner after the promoter appeared on the show to argue that young people will benefit from a government scheme to get young people into boxing.

Hearn was up against Peter McCabe, CEO of Headway, which provides support for those affected by brain injuries, who beleives the government should be funding youth activities such as football or athletics, rather than boxing, which he said do not pose the same level of risk as boxing.

Mr McCabe also believes that boxing instils violence in a person.

“The view of Headway is that boxing is a dangerous sport. If you read the report from the British Medical Association, they say that boxing is extremely dangerous, and should be banned,” he said.

He went on to say that funding should be directed to sports that pose “less risk” of a brain or head injury.

He faced off against Hearn, of Matchroom Boxing, who, although saying he realises there is a risk that comes with his sport, believes amateur boxing clubs provide young people with a focus and a form of discipline, and it is right for clubs to receive government funding.


Hearn said that he does not feel badminton provides young people with the same sense of community as boxing, after it was suggested by presenter Kate Garraway that less intense sports could still benefit youngsters.

“We’re talking about problems within communities, we’re talking about gang crime. I can’t see where anyone can go into those communities, and those estates, and start promoting badminton,” said the promoter.

Speaking on his college's involvement in boxing, Bob Smytherman said: “Our young people at AP College in West Sussex hugely value our boxing sessions at our centres.

"Boxing is very much an important part of extra curricular activities for our young people to help manage behaviour and give them a real purpose."

Hearn and McCabe were locked in a heated debate as the government announced a £300 million plan to cut youth crime, which includes investment in early intervention schemes.

Announcing the project, the deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab, visited a community boxing scheme in Blackpool that is “giving local children and teenagers an alternative to anti-social behaviour, giving them skills such as discipline and teamwork, and steering them away from potential offending and back into education and training”, according to the government’s website.

The Argus: Eddie Hearn fights the corner off youth boxing projectsEddie Hearn fights the corner off youth boxing projects

“Diverting more young people from gangs, drugs and violence will make our streets safer,” he said.

“So, we’re investing £300 million in preventative initiatives, to deter criminal behaviour.

“Our plan will ensure thousands more young people can turn their lives around - which will transform their lives and make our communities safer.”

Hollywood star Idris Elba has previously spoken of his experiences of learning to box at a young age and has recently launched a new BBC programme in which he helps young people learn to box.