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Wednesday, 22 May, 2002, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
McGuigan sets up boxers' union
British Boxers Association president Barry McGuigan
McGuigan's union has the support of Lennox Lewis
Former world champion Barry McGuigan has launched a boxers' trade union with the aim of reducing the number of fighters who struggle financially after quitting the ring.

According to the British Boxers Association (BBA), only 5% of fighters can secure their future from the sport alone.

The union aims to offer its members financial services, career advice and education to ensure they do not find themselves on the ropes after they retire.

BBA president McGuigan told the BBC: "The reality is that maybe 5% of fighters make money and hold on to it.


Many boxers are their own worst enemy
Union president Barry McGuigan
"The other 95% just make up the numbers. Some of them make money; most of them don't.

"The big problem is lack of planning - many boxers are their own worst enemy.

"We want to encourage them to plan ahead for the future.

"The vast majority of fighters have at least two or three hours of down-time during the day when they could be applying themselves to learning whatever skills they want.

"They can start putting time aside so when the curtain finally does come down on their career they at least have another form of income."

Firmer footing

The BBA has grown out of the Professional Boxers Association, which was set up in 1993 with similar aims.

The new body has been launched as part of the GMB trade union to put it on a firmer footing than its predecessor.

"We had some great ideas and great enthusiasm, but we didn't get off the ground because we didn't have the financial clout," McGuigan said.

"We now have that with the support of the GMB."

The union's organisation will be run by former British flyweight champion Mickey Cantwell, and it has already received the support of Lennox Lewis and Naseem Hamed.

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BBA president Barry McGuigan
"Maybe 5% of fighters make money"
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