AFTER a long difficult lockdown boxing clubs, from today (Monday April 12), were finally allowed to reopen their doors.

England Boxing confirmed that the amateur sport can move to step two of the roadmap out of lockdown as the government eases Covid-19 restrictions.

Boxing gyms in England can reopen, subject to meeting the criteria for indoor venues previously established during the pandemic. These include limits on numbers of people allowed in at any one time, the need to follow Test and Trace procedures, complete a risk assessment and socially distance except for padwork.

Indoor training permitted for children and under 18s does include sparring as well as padwork. Coaches though will use their judgement when it comes to re-introducing sparring after a such a long time without.

It has been confirmed that group (bubble) numbers indoors for under-18s are limited to 15 plus coaches, providing that number remains within Covid capacity guidelines (as opposed to unlimited for organised sport outdoors).

A club or venue is permitted to have more the one group (bubble) of 15 provided the groups can operate separately and continue to social distance appropriately, as well as meet Covid capacity guidelines for the venue.

Adults are in phase one of the return, so the guidance currently permits padwork but not yet sparring. Adult padwork should be one-to-one with a coach only. All other adult training indoors should be on an individual basis (unless from within the same household), remaining socially distanced at all times with no group activity.

The determination, commitment and care of the sport’s volunteers will of course be vital as grassroots boxing rebuilds. As the next phase of the return to training begins Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has joined forces with Sport England and a host of sporting organisations to pay tribute to just these kinds of volunteers. From helping to make their club Covid-secure, to reaching out to support their wider communities through food banks, making deliveries or checking in on neighbours, sports volunteers have gone above and beyond, and this is a contribution Baroness Grey-Thompson is eager to recognise.

“It’s been a time of kindness, of giving, and of selflessness, where people have really stepped up to help their communities,” she said. “To the millions of people helping grassroots sport and activity come through these difficult times, we want to say a huge and heartfelt thank you. Thank you for your incredible dedication and commitment.  Thank you for supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of millions of people.

“You’ve improved lives and helped your communities when they needed you most.”