When former British heavyweight Frank Bruno said, “Boxing is the toughest and loneliest sport in the world”, he seemed to perfectly capture the very nature, and potential danger, of boxing: that it is a sport of the mind as much as it is a sport of the body.  

If you think about any boxing-related film – the Rocky franchise, Million Dollar Baby, Southpaw – a huge amount of the story usually follows the boxer’s wellbeing, from how they’re coping in training and in the run up to the “big fight”, to the state of their family life at home. And it’s true, a lot rests on the mentality of a fighter – how they think and block out the noise ultimately wins them the title, not the punches they throw.

It’s no wonder, then, that a movement has slowly but surely started that is putting boxing – predominantly the non-contact kind – at the centre of new investigations in Manchester into how people can use the sport to improve their mental health.

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