Professional Boxing is one of the few sports which has no real Union of sort for the fighters involved. Outside of the respective state athletic commissions and boards of controL, there is no real protection for fighters for life after boxing. Fighters have managers, but managers only last for so long and when their career is over, the fighters are on their own a lot of the time.
Things may appear to be changing however as the Professional Boxers Affiliation is working towards a launch that will see a body created to support fighters throughout their careers and after their in-ring career has come to an end.
The leading figures in this venture come in the form of Henry Foulkes and Kenny Pearce, who discussed their plans for the Professional Boxers Affiliation and how it came about.
They said, “The Professional Boxers Affiliation first came about after a discussion we had several years before we officially established about an organization solely dedicated to improving boxer’s influence within the sport. Then in 2020 we discussed the idea again and noticed how boxers lacked a clear support structure in place to help them when they struggle during their career and in retirement. Instead of sitting around complaining, my partner Kenny and I decided to do something about it.
“One of the main motivations for us was that help for fighters mental health is almost non-existent in boxing compared to other sports. We all hear stories about boxers who have retired and subsequently struggled, but it was clear to us that things could be slightly different if the right support structure was in place.
“For example, the USA Olympic & Paralympics Team have a committee dedicated to Athlete Career and Education (ACE), which helps active and retired athletes improve their personal, educational and professional success, outside of the Olympics/Paralympics. Despite being much needed, there is nothing like this in place for professional boxers.”
With tough times being very apparent right now, mental, physical, and financial help is at the forefront of society, let alone boxing. Foulkes and Pearce continued to outline their objectives for the Professional Boxers Affiliation moving forward.
The pair stated, “We want to establish ourselves as the sole association body for all professional boxers in the UK and offer support on mental health, finances, and retirement planning.
“Our goal is to try and ease the transition into retirement for boxers and try to make things a bit easier for them when they hang up their gloves. We want to ensure that they have a good support structure when leaving the sport behind and that they get something back from the sport they have dedicated their lives to.
“The creation of the Professional Boxers Affiliation Pension Scheme (PBAPS), which will hopefully be funded by television broadcasters and not individual purses, will give boxer’s some security during an often-uncertain point in their lives.
“If we can create a discussion within the sport amongst the biggest names and stakeholders about this, we can open the door for this to help boxers now and for years into the future.”
For more information on the Professional Boxers Affiliation can be found at https://www.pbaffiliation.co.uk/