Maverick Stars' "Sting Like A Bee" Project - Fighting Crime Through Boxing
Morson Sport recently attended Maverick Stars’ latest event in Manchester to find out more about their incredible ‘Sting like a Bee’ project, which aims to reduce knife crime and anti-social behaviour in the Greater Manchester area through boxing. The organisation has provided funding for 12 local boxing clubs with the aim of teaching 18 to 25-year olds skills in discipline, fitness and first aid.
Former Morson-sponsored boxer and acclaimed trainer Jamie Moore discussed why he got involved in the project and how his introduction to Maverick Stars came about:
“We all want to help in any way we can, knife crime is horrendous at the moment, it’s got steadily worse over the past 10-15 years. Charlotte, who runs Maverick Stars approached me and asked me if I’d be on board and help out, which I was more than happy to, because I love projects like that. We can try and interact with kids in the community and try and change their lives, because we come from a background where there is a lot of deprivation.”
“Generally, you get kids coming to a boxing gym who are a bit wayward, maybe a bit hyperactive. Boxing’s a great way of instilling discipline in them, and getting rid of that excess energy. A lot of those things can cause problems and in a roundabout way can impact on knife crime, either by someone having a knife or someone having that sort of character to carry a knife.”
The former British and European champion highlighted how the programme is equally targeting changing the lives of both potential victims, and potential perpetrators:
“We’re trying to break the stigma down, we’re trying to help from both sides. First, to give people confidence, to give them an outlet. Somewhere where they don’t have to hang around on the street and put themselves in vulnerable positions. From the other side, for the people causing the problems, it gives them an outlet to offload some energy and instil some discipline. So, I think boxing and something like ‘Sting like a Bee’ working together is fantastic.”
Promising rising star and English and Commonwealth champion Zelfa Barrett was also at the event to show his support for Maverick Stars, as knife crime has deeply affected his family’s life:
"A lot of adolescents now are carrying knives, if they’re going to carry a knife, they’re carrying it to use it. I’ve been through trauma in my life, my brother died through knife crime. Me being there watching him die in front of my eyes, the only way I could channel my energy was through boxing.”
Zelfa highlighted how it was ultimately the sport of boxing that changed his life in the midst of the tragedy and turmoil surrounding him:
"I could’ve gone the wrong way, down the wrong path and could’ve used my anger towards knife crime and could’ve inflicted it somewhere else but I went into boxing. At the moment I’m commonwealth champion, and to some people that would be enough but that’s nothing, it’s the start of my life. I want to be British, European and World champion, it’s just part of my journey.”
Mayor Andy Burnham finalised the afternoon with his firm backing of ‘Sting Like a Bee’ and reiterated that creating a network of gyms is crucial in steering young people on the right path:
“It felt to me that this initiative was about helping the common good and if we create a network with Greater Manchester police and Greater Manchester fire and rescue service, then I think we can help find the right club from the right young person, rather than going to one club, not liking it and being lost to the sport.”
“Often when I speak to young people, they say that it’s not someone thinking they’re hard that is carrying a knife, but someone who is instead carrying a knife out of fear. I think this initiative can give those carrying knives in fear the courage not to live that way and that obviously helps to de-escalate the whole situation.”
Going forward, Morson will be working in partnership with Maverick Stars to offer any ‘Sting like a Bee’ participants as well as any at risk Salford residents the opportunity to apply for an apprenticeship through Morson Training. We look forward to seeing the continued progress of such a great initiative and are proud to be working alongside such a great cause.