Bunce gives Q&A at 'amazing' Boxing Academy
Luke G. Williams
Boxing Monthly columnist Steve Bunce paid a visit to the Boxing Academy in Hackney today to speak to students at the unique boxing-based educational establishment where his work is on the curriculum…
Not many boxing writers can point to the fact that their work is studied in schools, but long-time BM columnist, boxing writer and broadcaster Steve Bunce now can.
Bunce’s acclaimed 2018 tome ‘Bunce’s Big Fat Short History of British Boxing’ is now a firm favourite in literacy classes at the Boxing Academy in Hackney.
“About three or four months ago, the headteacher Anna Cain contacted me,” Bunce explained to BM. “She said, ‘Steve, can we get hold of some copies of your book because we want to use it in our literacy programme.’
"I spoke to [publishers] Penguin and they sent the Boxing Academy 50 copies.”
With his book now firmly ensconced in the curriculum, Bunce paid a visit to the Boxing Academy today to meet with around 25 students and conduct a question and answer session with them about his career and all things boxing.
“It’s quite an amazing place,” he told BM. “A staggering place to be honest with you. They have boxing training every afternoon and three or four age groups which are separated into small groups of about six or seven called pods.
“Each pod has an ex-boxer attached to it – someone was an amateur or a professional mind you, not some white collar boxer who once went to a gym. The boxer escorts his pod around the school and makes sure the kids go to all their classes.
“I did an hour today with about 25 pupils. Floyd Mayweather was a popular topic. They also asked about [Bernard] Hopkins threatening me and who would win: [Errol] Spence or [Terence] Crawford as well as how I deal with famous people. It was a top morning.”
Originally based in Tottenham and registered as a charity in 2007, the Boxing Academy offers an alternative education pathway for students between the ages of 14 and 16 who are at risk of exclusion from mainstream schooling.
The Academy’s ethos is well summed up by a statement on its website which reads: “We use the beneficial effects of sport to empower our students, teach them to manage their anger, give them confidence in their learning and direct them towards further education, training or employment.”
The merits of the Academy’s outputs and its success in turning around many young lives has been recognised by a host of awards, including a Centre for Social Justice Award in 2011, a Community Sport Project of the Year in 2014, an Investors in People award in 2015 and a times Educational Supplement award for Alternative Provision School of the Year in 2017.