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Event aims to knock out knife crime

David Roberts, Ryan Arnold and Stefan Hanks

Young boxers will be put to the test later, as part of a project that is aiming to tackle knife crime in Stoke-on-Trent.

Back in March, local boxing promoter Stefan Hanks put out the message for kids and teenagers across North Staffordshire to help him make the city a safer place through sport.

Stefan knows from personal experience how devastating knife crime can be, after his nephew was attacked last year.

He hopes providing support and training for young people in the city can play help.

The 39-year-old from Trentham said: “Knife crime is becoming a real issue all over the country, so we’re going attack it.

“We don’t want knife crime to increase in Stoke-on-Trent, so we want to offer kids an outlet for their frustration.

“Boxing training provides a structured focus for anger while keeping fit and meeting new friends.

"I want to say to young Stokies - put your knives down and your gloves on!

“We currently have around 25 kids who come along to our boxing sessions at the Colosseum Gym in Longton every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

"Girls and boys, aged 7 to 16, spend an hour with us getting fitter and learning how to control themselves in and out of the ring."

He has organised the 'KNOCKING OUT KNIFE CRIME' at King's Hall in Stoke on Sunday 12th May, where young boxers will put months of training into practice.

David Roberts, 48 from Longton, who is a Hatton Academy Boxing for Fitness certified instructor, says they believe boxing can give teenagers focus and better anger management.

He said: “Boxing provides fantastic opportunity to get fit while having fun.

“We want to help local kids have a fighting chance, not become victims of knife attacks or locked up for carrying a blade.

“This weekend will see all their hard work and training put into action, as they box in front of an audience for the first time.”

Ryan Arnold, aged 15 from Meir, is amongst those taking part.

He said: “Since taking up boxing, I really feel like part of a community.

"We train together and box together; it’s not just about boxing, it’s like family.”

There is more information on the event here.

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