PERHAPS the most important component in a boxer’s life is the ability to listen. It is like a secret element. Listening could be the difference between winning or losing.

But sometimes everyone appears to be so caught up in their own business they’re not interested in other concerns or listening to anything else. They just shut off.

I have been watching closely the development of the Ringside Charitable Trust (RCT). A few years ago, I travelled to Florida, USA with a group of former boxing champions trainers and other members of the boxing fraternity. We were there with the backing of the Moth Foundation. We were raising awareness across the pond about RCT and Kids Beating Cancer.

I follow RCT updates from those at the heart of the charity on social media and the articles in this publication, looking to see if there is any movement. If there are any transactions. It would be great if there was vested interest from current boxers, managers, promoters, particularly those who are influencers. After all, they are quite naturally in a better place to generate a sizeable boost to an extremely worthy cause than anyone else.

From my position, I see boxing as one of the toughest disciplines in the world sporting arena. Boxers prepare for fights with the intention to entertain fans. In turn, they show braveness and desire. By nature, some boxers push themselves to the limit and therefore, at times, must be saved from themselves. They could be in the midst of a losing battle yet they would continue to fight on until the final bell.

Boxing is a combat business and the punches that land are punishing. Every time a boxer climbs through those ropes, we should never forget they are potentially one punch away from serious even life-threatening injury. Such injuries are of course rare but the accumulation of punches causing damage is not.

I competed during the 1980s and 90s. There were boxers who were close to me that I witnessed first-hand suffer those injuries that can result from punches taken.

Boxers like Harry Senior, a former Southern Area heavyweight champion. Harry was a good young heavyweight and I hired him for sparring, he helped me prepare for a few of my fights.

Sadly, many years later, Harry suffered a stroke during a sparring session with Albert Sosnowski who had been preparing for a European title fight. I see Harry on occasion. He is a proud man and, since his injury, he has progressed greatly but he’s transformed from the person he used to be. He has lost so much weight from the powerful heavyweight that I remember.

You don’t hear much about Rod Douglas these days. He was an outstanding amateur boxer and a good pro. We trained together in Tottenham. I was there the night he got injured severely during his fight with Herol Graham, who I also was close to, and who himself is experiencing challenges now.

I couldn’t write this article without including Michael Watson MBE. We were close friends as young professionals and were even born a few days apart. Michael’s injury during his rematch with Chris Eubank in 1991 received global recognition because they were two high profile boxers. However, it’s sad that there are many other fighters ravaged by boxing who are not well known so they get little recognition or help.

Boxers can also experience depression, we know this because it was brought to the public’s attention by the plight of household names like Frank Bruno and Tyson Fury. Are we really to believe they’re the only ones?

The list could go on and on. However, listing names and injuries is not the crux of the message. I want to understand why the most influential are not supporting RCT. And if you’re an influential person in boxing, and your conscience has allowed you to read this far, ask yourself what you are doing to help.

Perhaps it’s not deemed good for business to promote your events and the RCT. By doing so you are, in essence, admitting that what earns you money also puts lives at risk. Own it. Admit it. Clear your consciences.

Thankfully, I was able to leave the game with my faculties intact. And over time, boxing has improved greatly in terms of safety for boxers. Also, boxers, particularly those at the top, now earn far more than what they used to earn. We can in one way thank the major promoters for that. There is still far more they can do if one considers the amount of money swirling around the sport.

As a prizefighter, I did not make anything close to what boxers earn today but what I earned was respect from the industry because I proved myself as one who was always willing to help and support boxers who had fallen on hard times, either through ill health or financial reasons.

I say this as a former boxer who gave my all in the ring. I say this as a former boxer who has seen the hard times upon which other former boxers can fall. Boxers, managers, promoters and all who care for the future of the sport, please listen. We must look after our own.

Let us all unite to ensure the success of Ringside Charitable Trust. Let’s ensure boxers to have a place to go, that they have help and support, that they don’t feel like they’ve been forgotten. It is surely the very least we as an industry – a family – can do.