Welsh Area super-lightweight champion Kieran Gething (9-2-2, 2KOs) was recently invited to join the board at the Professional Boxers’ Affiliation.
The Professional Boxers’ Affiliation is a not-for-profit organisation that will act as the main association body for professional boxers in the UK, working in a similar way to the PFA, PJA and PCA.
The body will look to act on three main areas of concern within professional boxing: financial planning, mental well-being support and retirement planning, as well as extensive educational and mentoring programmes that will look to improve the welfare of professional boxers.
The board members will act as trustees for the charitable arm, the PBA Trust, fulfilling roles such as acting as boxing consultants for the sport, giving insight and advice into where the PBA should provide more resources.
The 26-year-old champion from Pontypool, Wales, was delighted to have been invited, accepting the offer immediately, with the hope to contribute to making boxing a better sport for all.
He proudly said, “I have been approached recently to become a board member of Professional Boxers’ Affiliation, which I see as a real honour and privilege.
“Professional boxing doesn’t have a body like the PFA in football looking after its members, so it’s about time this was changed.
“Fighters like myself, who box on small hall shows, been on TV a few times, but not operating in those highest echelons as Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, really need someone looking out for them.
“The PBA are looking at things that could help pro boxers such as setting up some sort of pension scheme and looking after a boxer after their career finishes, which can be a confusing, lonely time for many. Also, it will help to bring the wider community to account, like promoters and managers, to ensure there can be no bad dealings, as fighters are often short changed and hard done by.”
The Director of the Professional Boxers’ Affiliation, Henry Foulkes, described in detail why he chose to approach Kieran Gething for the role, “We felt that Kieran was representative of the vast majority of boxers: in terms of working two jobs, fighting on small hall shows with the occasional TV show and his own personal background that he kindly shared with me.
“However, it was clear to see, after my initial conversation with him, that he has a clear passion for the aims of the PBA and wants to improve the welfare of boxers throughout their careers and in retirement.
“He speaks well, has clear empathy and I believe he’ll be an excellent representative for boxers and the PBA for many years to come.”
Kieran’s father, Gary, was also a professional boxer, who tragically took his own life in 2014, aged just 54.
Kieran reflected mournfully, “I feel like my father might still be with us if he had still felt a part of the boxing community after retirement. It’s hard for an athlete after their career ends; lots of us have felt it over the past 12 months where many of us haven’t had a fight, which is what we have spent our entire lives training for.
“If we can make fighters understand that it isn’t the be-all and end-all when you retire from the sport, that there’s ways to still be a part of it, so no one feels so isolated or abandoned afterwards.
“Boxing is like a drug, so there’s simply nothing that comes close to the buzz you feel from boxing and winning a fight. It’s an individual sport and the most primal sense of achievement you can ever feel.
“When that’s taken away, it can be very detrimental to a fighters’ state of mind, so hopefully this new Affiliation will be a step forwards to helping many boxers in the future, and I’m very proud to be a part of it.”
The super-lightweight, signed to MTK Global, hasn’t fought since November 2019 when he reached a stalemate with Londoner Jeff Ofori (10-3-1, 3KOs) in the Golden Contract quarter-finals.
He is also recovering from surgery following an elbow injury that required an operation in late 2020.
“Surgery went well and I’m back punching again. My manager has already said he wants me to go straight into a proper fight, which I believe means a 50-50 fight on TV,” he said excitedly.
“I’m happy to go straight into a big fight, like I was preparing for previously. I just can’t wait to get my career back on track.”
Follow Kieran Gething on Twitter @KiwiGething