FIVE boxing clubs from the city are involved in England Boxing’s #KOCOVID19 campaign, which has raised over £100,000 just three weeks after being set up.

Bradford’s Carlton Boxing Academy, Laisterdyke Boxing Club, Lights Out Boxing Academy, The Lion Gym and Rourkey’s Gym are all included in the more than 130 clubs from across the country to take part.

Last month, the government forced all gyms to shut down to comply with coronavirus social distancing measures, which leaves them at risk of closure in these uncertain times, with many still having to pay for rent, despite losing regular income from subs, membership and shows.

It also puts at risk the fantastic community work they do on a daily basis, teaching thousands of people, often in England’s most disadvantaged areas, to box, not to mention the vital projects they undertake on mental health, knife and gang crime, and many more.

Each club have set up their own fundraising page, which can be accessed from the England Boxing website’s #KOCOVID19 homepage, meaning they have been able to use the campaign logo, posters and resources created by the national governing body to aid in their bid of raising the necessary funds to stay afloat.

England Boxing have also produced a number of videos, where people have backed the campaign by saying ‘KO COVID-19 – support your local club’.

It encourages all, who can, to donate by giving as much as they can afford, and has drawn the backing of some of the sport’s stars, including ex-world champion Richie Woodhall, Daniel Dubois and Tommy Coyle, as well as a host of other boxers and coaches.

Many clubs have come up with innovative ways to promote their fundraising efforts, taking part in ‘toilet roll challenge’ videos and getting involved in sponsored, socially-distant, runs.

At the time of writing, the overall amount raised stands at £106,019.

Kevin Rourke, from Rourkey’s Gym in West Bowling, says his club depend on subs to pay their rent, and need to raise their targeted £750 to continue the great work they do in helping youths stay on the correct path.

He said: “All the gyms are shut but we have to pay all our bills still. We got told to set up a Just Giving page through England Boxing.

“That (£750) would just help me pay the rent going forward. We know we are on lockdown for another three weeks but we don’t know how long we will be shut. I think it will be until the end of June.

“The club rely solely on the subs. We don't have any funding or sponsors, whatever we earn in subs goes back into the rent.

“We do a lot of sponsored walks together, the kids go out washing cars, we set up things like that. But with the social distancing, we can’t do any fundraising that way.”

England Boxing’s Southern Counties Club Support Officer Avoen Perryman, who came up with the initial concept, thinks it is crucial that these community hubs are kept alive, so their great work can carry on once lockdown is finished.

He said: “For so many of the young people in our sport, their local boxing club is a sanctuary, and it would be beyond devastating to so many if any club was put at risk in these difficult times.

“That’s why it’s such great news that so many clubs have run with the idea – and that this campaign has had this positive impact.

“All the videos, social media posts and comments from the boxing community and beyond are so heartwarming, and are a testament to the family and community spirit that boxing has long been known for.”

You can find out more and donate to a club of your choice by going to: www.englandboxing.org/clubs/kocovid19/ and also by following the campaign on social media, using the hashtag #KOCOVID19 that has been created.