PROFESSIONAL promoter Mark Neilson discusses the latest events in the world of boxing.

The brilliant news this week was that the main governing body for the amateurs, England Boxing, has announced that government Coronavirus restrictions are set to end from Monday, July 19.

The amateurs, predominantly the place where kids and young adults first get involved in boxing, is the main route through to the professional game. But the past 18 months have seen these gyms close up shop, and while difficult financially for the gym owners who have battled brilliantly to keep the lights tuned on, the kids have had nowhere to go.

Boxing is full of stories of how boxing kept some troubled kids on the straight and narrow and help them take a different course in life. It also gave them not only fitness and discipline, but for some, opportunity for a better financial future.

Anthony Joshua, now one of the biggest names in world sport and a role model to millions, is open about his past troubles. He spent time on remand at Reading prison and completed community service for Class B related drug issues. He is in no doubt that finding boxing kept him away from a life of crime and an uncertain future.

Of course, not all boxers have a troubled background, but at the very least, it gives them something to do and a reason to put their phone down and keeps them off of their screens, every parent will relate to that, I’m sure.

I have spoken to a few of the people behind the amateur clubs, mostly unpaid volunteers, who have told me that even though gyms reopened a few months ago, quite a few of their boxers had drifted off. Now that amateur boxing can resume sparring and competing, the youngsters have something to train for.

The unsung heroes running amateur boxing have done a sterling job keeping the kids motivated and hopefully the sport won’t have lost too much talent.

From a professional point of view, amateur boxing is the feed for my new boxers, it’s where the vast majority of fighters come from. With a few exceptions, such as martial arts and white collar boxing, the amateur code is where the talent comes from.

Even recently, I have had a brilliant white collar boxing champion refused his professional licence and was told that he needed to go and get himself half a dozen amateur fights before he would be considered. With amateur boxing on hold, this effectively put his professional career on hold.

I hope now that amateur boxing is back, the gyms are bursting at the seems, kids are putting their screens down and we’ll soon be getting back to normal, but in this crazy world, who knows.