Olympic boxer Josh Buatsi teamed up with fellow Team GB pugilist Joe Joyce to support dozens of youngsters attending a boxing awards ceremony in Brixton. The Olympic medallists were special guests at an end of year celebration hosted last week by Lambeth Police and local boxing group Dwaynamics. The group, who run non-contact boxing classes under a Loughborough Junction railway arch, are due to launch new classes on the Tulse Hill Estate and at a primary school at Angell Town next year.
Buatsi, a talented light heavyweight fighter who won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, praised the work of local boxing coaches and church minister Pastor Lorraine Jones.
Pastor Jones, a resident of Brixton’s Angell Town Estate, established Dwaynamics in memory of her son Dwayne Simpson, who was fatally stabbed in 2014.
“What Pastor Lorraine is doing is so inspirational”, says Buatsi. “For her to carry on with the work her son was doing before he died is totally inspiring. My heart goes out to her because she lost her son and life is precious.
“I’m glad I had the chance to visit Dwaynamics to see what they do and if more people are motivated to come here to train because Joe (Joyce) and I have visited, I’d be more than happy. The work being done here is great.”
Buatsi, who is 23 and based in London, has been touted as a promising talent after his Olympic performances caught the eyes of professional boxing promoters. The Ghanaian-born boxer from Croydon is in two minds as to whether he will turn professional before the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
“Right now I’ve got to say still it’s fifty-fifty for me”, says Buatsi. “My ultimate goal is to be a professional world champion, but it’s still split fifty-fifty as to whether I will turn professional. I won an Olympic medal and it’s been the best experience of my life so far.
“My short-term plans are to finish my degree in Management Studies and Sports Science at St Mary’s University and I finish my course in January. After that, I can decide whether I turn professional or stay amateur.”
Coordinators at Dwaynamics hope to encourage more children to join new boxing classes to be established in other areas across London next year. In addition to working with local police officials, managers from the project are also building links with other Brixton-based boxing clubs.
‘What we have here is a true reflection of community spirit, unity, and empowerment bringing together our young people, their families, and local police”, says Pastor Lorraine Jones.
“It’s been a phenomenal year. There has been a lot going on and we have had two fantastic Olympic medallists come over to visit us. We’ve also had other boxing coaches come down here including Bobby Miltiadous from Afewee and ‘Q’ Shillingford.
“So much has been achieved and the children who come here are so inspiring. I can just imagine my son Dwayne in heaven and smiling at what’s happening here.
“Our vision for the next 12 months is to take Dwaynamics right across London. This is what is giving me the steel and the strength to continue to fight so that no more of our kids will be killed on our streets.”