Sky’s the limit as former Portsmouth man throws weight behind life-saving boxing scheme
The Portsmouth boxing community are uniting in support of a groundbreaking initiative which will save lives.
That means Joel McIntyre and Dave Birmingham will take to the skies on Saturday to raise funds to help back the scheme.
The Ringside Rest & Care Home is a charity which aims to see a residential facility built for boxers who fall on hard times at the end of their careers.
Sadly, fighters struggling both physically and mentally is a familiar tale when their days in the hardest of sports come to a close and there are examples in recent years of boxers committing suicide.
The care home is the brainchild of Dave Harris, with support from Portsmouth author Andrew Fairley, who estimates it will take annual funding of £1.5m to keep such a huge undertaking operational.
So McIntyre, Birmingham and Fairley will be joined by current pros Jeff Ofori, Jumanne Camero and Lucy Wildheart as they travel to Salisbury for a three-mile high skydive.
Former Pompey pro Birmingham believes the home is a charity which deserves huge backing.
He said: ‘Boxing is a harsh, harsh sport.
‘You are in the spotlight but when retirement comes it can have a big effect on them.
‘It can be hard for them to ask for the help they need - but this is where the care home comes in.
‘Mental health is a huge thing and thankfully a lot of people are talking about it right now. Boxers put everything on the line, go though gruelling training camps and are in wars in the ring.
‘When it comes to retirement they can hit a wall and sometimes they don’t know what to do with themselves. Boxers can find the mental side of things difficult to deal with as well as the physical difficulties.
‘The care home is a great opportunity for boxers to be looked after and get the treatment they need.
‘With suicide levels so high in men and there many cases of boxers struggling to deal with life outside the ring, I feel this is an excellent charity to get behind.
‘Being scared of heights I’m nore sure if a three-mile sky dive is my brightest idea! But we need to raise awareness and try to raise as much money as we can.’