The new Boxing Academy in the imposing Maritime Station building on the Tour & Taxis site offers young Brussels residents, boys and girls alike, a safe space where they can try out a sport they’ve never tried before. Every Saturday, around 80 youngsters (the youngest is 8 and the oldest 20) come to train in boxing under the watchful eye of professional coaches. At the Boxing Academy, one in three young boxers is a girl.
THE BOXING ACADEMY PROJECT
The Decathlon Foundation is very proud to have validated, at the end of 2022, the Belgian “Boxing Academy” project, led by Decathlon Brussels employees and the Sport2Be association. Initiated by Sport2Be and Decathlon employees, the Foundation project aims to create a boxing academy.
Sport2Be is an association whose aim is to re-establish equal opportunities and empower young people in difficulty, through regular sporting activities and a programme of support towards employment and training. Sport2be organises free, supervised weekly sports activities throughout Brussels for young people aged 6 to 25, combined with an employment and training support programme for 16-year-olds.
INAUGURATION OF THE PROJECT
On Saturday 3 June 2023, the boxing club was officially inaugurated. A look back at the day in pictures!
A safe environment and a base for the future
Young people from all backgrounds are divided into age categories and train in a safe, inclusive environment where they can play sport in complete privacy.
According to Jill Boon, Red Panther and co-founder of Sport2Be: “In our country, one child in six lives in poverty, and this figure is even higher in Brussels. Children and young people living in poverty are often more exposed to the risk of social exclusion. With Sport2Be, we want to offer them a springboard by supporting them in their orientation and their entry into working life. Young people in Brussels can come here to take up boxing from the age of eight. This age is deliberately very low: in this way we establish good links with young people, so that we can help them later in life too.”
The Decathlon Foundation funded the complete fitting-out of the boxing gym and the equipment.
Sophie Criquelion, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Impact Leader at Decathlon: “We opted for a boxing academy because it was a request from the young people of Brussels themselves. Boxing is a sport that attracts a lot of young people. Studies show that one Belgian in five wants to do sport but is financially prevented from doing so. Decathlon has been trying for over 25 years to remove these financial barriers to sport through its products. With projects like the Boxing Academy, we are going even further to have a positive impact on society. In this way, we are contributing to Decathlon’s overall objective of making sport accessible to everyone.”