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Great Britain

Six Brit world champions swap brawling for bawling as charity single raises funds for care home for boxers in need

MULTI-millionaire boxers like Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are financially secure for life.

Yet only two per cent of fighters make enough money live ON once they retire.

I’m sure the majority of fans who belt out Sweet Caroline on the big occasions haven’t the faintest idea the hardship undercard boxers have to deal with when their careers are over.

So many aren’t just poverty-stricken but suffer severe mental and physical problems without the help they need.

That’s why you will find six former world champions at London’s iconic Abbey Road studios — made famous by The Beatles — trying to make a hit of a different kind on Sunday.

John H Stracey, John Conteh, Johnny Nelson, Duke McKenzie, Charlie Magri and Billy Schwer will be recording a song called Never Give Up, Never Give In. The words and music are by Simon Block, who spent eight years as secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control.

36 BEDROOMS

The CD goes on sale next year and proceeds will go to the Ringside Charitable Trust, set up with the sole purpose of establishing a care home for boxers who are desperately in need of help.

It is the brainchild of Hastings social worker David Harris, a former promoter who had a long amateur career.

He has been overwhelmed by the backing he’s had from so many of the sport’s big names — Frank Bruno, who has overcome mental health issues of his own, was one of the first to volunteer to become an ambassador for the charity.

David, 73, told me: “For many years, concern has been expressed for the countless boxers suffering from depression, alcohol dependency and injuries and illnesses attributed to boxing.

“We want to buy a property somewhere in central England with provision for a 36-bedroom home to cater for those with no means of support.

“We only started fundraising less than a year ago and the response from the boxing fraternity and the public has been amazing.”

It is estimated such a facility would cost £1.5million a year to run but Harris is confident he will find the investors necessary to get it started.

Stracey, who knocked out Jose Napoles in Mexico City to win the world welterweight crown 45 years ago, is known as boxing’s answer to Frank Sinatra.

When the Bethnal Green boy hung up his gloves, he sang professionally on cruise liners and has made several CDs.

John, 69, said: “The boys are happy to do this because it’s such a wonderful cause.

“When I was at the WBC convention in Mexico recently and told everyone about our care-home project, Roberto Duran, Julio Cesar Chavez, Olek Usyk and Vasiliy Lomachenko thought it was a terrific idea and signed gloves for us to auction.”

But Sky Sports pundit Nelson, who held his world cruiserweight title for six years, admitted: “When I sing I usually make people’s ears bleed.”

One thought did strike me. When the care home opens, it would be advisable NOT to ring a bell to call the residents to their meals!

Tyson Fury entertains guests as he sings 'American Pie' at glitzy bash as fans cheer him on
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