Mandela said, “Boxing is Egalitarian.” We like that. Problem is, boxing in South Africa wasn’t so classless, with the township and blue-collar guys getting all the action whilst the rest of us didn’t get much of a look in. That’s where The Armoury stepped in. But you’ve got to love the ‘the ghetto to glory’ story. We believe that boxing can be harnessed as a source for good in society and have engaged in charitable and development initiatives. Working with our partners Thomson Reuters and The Macquarie Foundation, we have raised over one million Rand for local children’s charities and have run our own initiatives such as MyLife Champions.
First up was the MyLife Champions boxing initiative. This took marginalized youth off the street and into our gym. The mission; transform them physically, mentally, and emotionally so that they built self esteem and had the hope, courage and conviction to break out of the cycle of self-destruction and gain a place in society. Boxing reaches youths at risk in ways that other interventions can’t. To be admired as a fighter is cool but first they had to commit to the tough training regime and adopt old-fashioned values (such as good sportsmanship, politeness, punctuality and respect). When they’d proven their commitment and skill, when they’d lived the values and kept themselves out of trouble – then they were invited to box at Armoury Fight Night. The prospect of the fight, and of proving themselves in front of hundreds of cheering supporters, was a tremendous motivation. Their self-esteem increased, they felt more confident, focused and in control. When they boxed at the Fight Night they were transformed from marginalised to magnificent – Champions all.
One of the street kids, from Tanzania, had walked all the way from Dar-es-Salaam to Cape Town. A shy lad, he arrived penniless and sought refuge with the MyLifE foundation where he joined the MyLife Champions boxing initiative. He found his passion, came out of his shell and found an easy camaraderie amongst the boxing coaches who took him under their wing. The Armoury gave him a job, first as a cleaner, paid for him to take English lessons and put him on a boxing coaching course and then set him up as a trainer in the gym. He did so well that he ended up going to work for a competitor! We wish him well.
FINANCIAL SERVICES CHARITY FIGHT NIGHT
The Armoury supports numerous charity events but is particularly proud of its partnership with sponsors Thomson Reuters and the Macquarie Foundation for the Financial Services charity Fight Night.
The calling notice for contenders goes out each year in October. ‘We’ll give you superb skills. We’ll give you fighting fitness. You bring the heart! We are looking for volunteers from the financial services industry – men and women, all ages – with a spirit of adventure, a sense of fair play and a reasonable level of fitness and who have never boxed before. All contenders will undergo a four month training programme from November to March under the instruction of professional boxing coaches. You will be transformed from complete novices to white-collar boxers, “zero to hero”.’
The training programme culminates in an amazing, packed out, charity Fight Night that brings the industry together in a spirit of intense but friendly rivalry. The event raises monies for local children’s charities and has raised over R1 million to date.
If you are in the Financial Services industry and are interested in supporting this initiative or boxing at the event please contact firstname.lastname@example.org