Know what I mean, Harry? Prince dukes it out in boxing ring


Prince Harry stepped into a boxing ring as he began a new phase of his public life - promoting the benefits of sport to help vulnerable communities and young people.

As the world mourned the death of Muhammad Ali, Harry joined the founder of south-east London's Double Jab boxing club behind the ropes to learn first hand the difference the sport has made to the local community of New Cross.

And in a lighter moment he squared up to one little boy being put through his paces during a training session with some of the club's most promising boxers.

Alongside Harry's official roles supporting the Queen, championing military veterans, raising awareness about HIV, through his charity Sentebale, and tackling mental health issues - he will focus on encouraging the efforts of local sports clubs to transform the lives of their members.

During the coming year he will travel across the country visiting small clubs and centres to promote their work - a decision that followed several months of private visits and meetings.

The Double Jab boxing club, is in New Cross, a deprived area of London, and has helped keep some of the young men that train under its roof focused and away from gang violence.

But in recent months it was left shocked by the death of Myron Yarde, a 17-year-old musician who trained at the club but died in April after being stabbed.

Patrick Harris, founder, coach and president of Double Jab, spoke to Harry about the benefits of boxing as they sat in the club's ring, with members of the mentoring charity Sported, that are helping his organisation reach the next level.

He said afterwards: "The idea behind the club is to take the youth off the streets and chip away at the gang culture and turn kids lives around in a positive manner."

Mr Harris said about the teenager's death: "That's exactly what we're trying to avoid, to turn the kids' lives around before they get involved.

"A lot of the kids they've got no role model to follow, no one believes in them - what we're trying to do is instil belief in them, instil self discipline and create better human beings.

"What you can't do in a classroom with a pen, in here you can become bigger and better - win a championship and become someone."

Mr Harris said by coincidence he had planned to do a five kilometre charity run in aid of Parkinson's disease this month and he would now run in honour of Ali who had suffered from the illness.

He said about the legendary boxer: "I'm going to dedicate that run to Muhammad Ali and his greatness - what he did to change people's perceptions of so many things, not just boxing, it was amazing."