MUMS of two six-year-old boys have criticised a boxing club for ruling that their sons are too young to attend.
The South Holland Boxing Academy, based in Holbeach, has ruled that it will now take children aged nine upwards for training – meaning friends McKenzie East and Marcus Bloomfield can no longer go to the Fleet Road venue to train.
The academy says it ran a trial with younger children but said that was unsuccessful and that it has set its starting age to nine.
McKenzie’s mum Lauren Fletcher and Marcus’ mum Sarah say they were not told that younger children were only allowed in for a trial and were angry at the decision.
Lauren said: “It really upset me. There have never been any problems and the boys have been saying how much they enjoy training.
“McKenzie’s an excitable child but this had calmed him down a bit. I would rather he went somewhere safe than got hurt at home.”
The children had been doing ‘mitt work’ – learning how to punch into trainers’ gloves – and were working with punchbags.
Sparring only starts once children reach 11.
Lauren feared that the club had no insurance to train young children but head coach John Sutton said that is not the case.
He said the decision was taken because younger children do not have the “attention span” required.
He said: “We are not a kindergarten and we are not in for baby sitting. Six is definitely too young, their attention span means that it is difficult for us to train them.
“The children they are talking about are two of the best to be honest but if you make a stand you make a stand.
“I don’t understand why they have gone off - it could possibly continue later in the New Year. It has been stopped for the time being.”
The club had issued a statement last week, outlining changes to the way the club is run.
The statement read: “There has been a change in membership policy at the club, relating to the age of junior attendants.
“It is with regret that we have raised the age for attending juniors, to the age of nine as it was tried on a trial basis to start juniors at six years of age.
“Sadly, due to the trial period being unsuccesful the newly reformed committee, has voted to raise the earliest age to nine.
“As juniors are able to compete at the age of 11, the two year period in learning the disciplines in the sport will give them sufficient time to reach that level, and also it is felt by the club that it is important that the earlier group be allowed to develop a little bit more.”