The ancient art of boxing has an enduring popularity, with high-profile professional matches between giants of the sport its lucrative, public face, attracting millions of ardent fans. Yet, for local clubs up and down the country, it is much more than a spectator sport: it’s a way of life.
For Lewis Liam and Throw the Jab Promotions, it is precisely this deep passion for boxing that has led to the creation of his successful local events company, putting on regular ‘white collar boxing tournaments’ that give amateur athletes and those who have never attempted boxing before an opportunity to compete for charity belts at promotional events across Merseyside.
It is through Lewis’ labour of love that he crossed paths with Brendan Farrell, a would-be-boxer who inspired him with his passion and determination, and together they are challenging some of the attitudes and assumptions about the sport to make boxing more accessible for all.
Brendan is a lifelong boxing fan looking for opportunities to train and compete, who also has cerebral palsy. ‘When Brendan approached me and asked to take part … I took advice… and we found a way’, Lewis explains, making a few minor adjustments to ensure Brendan could compete at the event.
His first fight was in October at the Devonshire House Hotel and he hopes to return to the ring soon at Throw The Jab’s upcoming event at The Heath in Runcorn in March. ‘I just love the sport’ explains Brendan, ‘I’ve always wanted to experience something like this…I’ve been fighting all my life!’
Lewis arranges for competitors to take part in six weeks of free training with professional coaches prior to the event, and has recently teamed up with the Live Your Life Drop the Knife campaign ‘to have a positive impact in the communities we put our shows in’.
The shows are ‘always looking for new participants and sponsors’ so for any organisations or individuals out there who would like to get involved, contact Lewis via the group’s Facebook page.
Brendan will be back competing on March 16th for the Disability Awareness Belt and hopes that the publicity surrounding his competitions helps to raise awareness of the role that disabled boxers can play in the sport.
‘There is not a lot out there for boxers who have a disability’ Lewis explains, ‘and we want to challenge that. We are not like other shows, we want to make a difference, we want to make dreams come true.’
Currently, boxing is not a Paralympic sport and campaigners have been fighting to have it officially recognised. While there has been some progress made, there is still a long way to go for boxing to become more inclusive.
Brendan and Lewis at Throw the Jab Promotions are determined to change that, to raise awareness of how athletes with a disability can take part in and enjoy boxing as much as those without. Another Liverpool group pushing the boundaries and making dreams come true – LVL’s verdict: a knockout success!
Check out Throw The Jab Promotions ONLINE
Check out Throw the Jab Promotions on FACEBOOK
Find out more about Live Your Life Drop The Knife campaign on FACEBOOK
Images courtesy of John McGrath Photography and Throw the Jab Promotions
Video Courtesy of Marnie-Leigh McLoughlin