Barry McGuigan calls for a dedicated mental health foundation for boxers

Barry McGuigan says boxing needs a mental health facility that is available to all fighters
Andy Watters

BARRY McGUIGAN has called for a new foundation to provide support to fighters with mental health issues.

With heavyweight Tyson Fury’s battle with depression providing a stark backdrop, Clones native McGuigan - manager of Belfast two-weight world champion Carl Frampton - said a new body is urgently required to help tackle mental health issues in the sport.

“It should happen sooner rather than later because we don’t want a fatality on our hands,” former world featherweight champion McGuigan said.

World heavyweight champion Fury has revealed he is suffering from depression and has taken cocaine to help him deal with the issue. McGuigan said he was “genuinely concerned” about the former Irish heavyweight champion and added he would be: “Happy to help in whatever way”.

“The health of the boxers is really important to me,” he said.

“There is no help available to boxers for depression and mental health issues which is something I really want to concentrate on. There are colossal sums in some of the fights and there is plenty of money available, of which some should be set aside for mental health issues. We definitely need to address it.

“Maybe it is time for all the sporting governing bodies to sit down and start thinking about a clinic of some kind which is available. We need to do it for a cheap rate for guys who don't earn a fortune.”

Meanwhile, McGuigan’s son Shane says George Groves’ rumble with Eduard Gutknecht is a “must-win” encounter for the Londonder. Groves defends his WBA International super-middleweight title against Germany’s two-time world title challenger Gutknecht at the SSE Arena, Wembley on Friday November 18, live and exclusively on Channel 5,

“We’ve worked extremely hard this year and November 18 is a chance for George to make another important step towards becoming a world champion,” said 2016 BBBofC Trainer of the Year McGuigan, who trains ‘St George’ at his Battersea gym.

“Eduard Gutknecht is a proven operator who we cannot afford to take lightly. Eddy has a high punch output and is extremely durable so we are preparing for twelve hard rounds. George is improving with each camp and I believe that he will be crowned world champion in the near future, but first and foremost he has to perform well against Gutknecht on November 18.”

Barry McGuigan says the contrast of Groves’ power and skill versus Gutknecht’s relentless work-rate guarantees a fight to remember: “This is going to be a cracking fight and I’m delighted that it will be live and exclusive on Channel 5,” he said.

“Styles make fights and this one has all the ingredients needed for a fantastic contest. It’s George’s power and skill against Gutknecht’s relentless work-rate and granite chin, the fans will not be disappointed on November 18 at Wembley Arena.

“This is also going to be a great telegenic fight and it’s important for our sport that top-level fights such as this are given a platform like Channel 5.”

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