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Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Thursday, 4 February 2010

YG Gets a Taste of Sweet Science

Your Game matches community groups working with 16-25 year-olds to funding, training and employment opportunities. It does this through community festivals and year round support.

If you came along to the 2009 YG festivals you couldn't have missed the guys from Sweet Science boxing. Hundreds of young people got to try out the 'non-contact' version of the sport in sessions overseen by expert coaches.

Leroy Nicholas
Sweet Science's Leroy Nicholas


YG caught up with Sweet Science director Leroy Nicholas.

The Idea
Leroy was working as a personal trainer but when he became a father he decided he needed a change of direction.

"It sounds silly but I looked around and saw how kids were carrying on. I knew that I needed to do something to deal with the difficulties young people were experiencing."

"I met up with some lads I used to box with twenty years ago and we watched the last Rocky movie. What struck me was that they were all really polite and all had their own businesses. This confirmed what I was thinking, that boxing can develop confidence and give people a 'get up and go attitude' to life."

Starting Up
After becoming affiliated to the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) Sweet Science started working with Your Game in 2008. In '09 they beefed up the partnership. Through their work at the YG festivals they've now built relationships with seven schools and community groups in London, Cardiff and Belfast.

Your Game
"At present Sweet Science has 22 coaching staff, three of whom are young people that we recruited from the 2009 Your Game festivals. We also work with several other young guys from YG, who we hope to take on as coaches some time soon."

Sweet Science YG09
Boxing was a big hit at YG 09

"As a direct result of contacts made at Your Game festivals we've delivered over 1,800 training sessions and in Ealing alone, more than 70% of young people chose to do boxing at school."

Leroy continues, "One school we worked with hand-picked young people because they had challenging behaviour and 80% of the young people's behaviour improved as a result of the boxing sessions."

Future Plans
2018 World Cup Ambassador Richard Caborn is President of the ABAE and a long-time supporter of Your Game. "I'm always keen to see young people being encouraged to get involved in boxing and particularly non-contact boxing which has proved such a success in 1,500 schools nationwide. It's great to see Your Game bringing in boxing. I'd like to thank the project for their support for non-contact boxing and wish them further success as we go into the new decade."

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