Joe Hughes: Erb’s Palsy Achievements Inspire Against Odds

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In a recent Boxing News article, Joe Hughes, the former European super-lightweight champion, reflects on his teaching experience with schoolchildren in boxing. He underscores the idea that disabilities should not hinder progress and provides insights into Anthony Joshua’s recent victory.

Last Friday, Joe Hughes participated in a summer camp at a Primary School near Bristol. The experience was positive, organized by the collaborative effort of various schools and sports organizations. Joe’s task was to introduce boxing to the children for a day.

While some students showed genuine interest, others were less engaged. Joe Hughes isn’t considering a career change to become a P.E. teacher, but he finds the experience enjoyable and a refreshing change of pace. Most children seemed to enjoy themselves.

Upon arrival, Joe Hughes often brings along one of his championship belts to share about himself, especially since many children are unfamiliar with him. He discusses his career and journey with Erb’s Palsy, emphasizing its role in his achievements despite challenges.

This week, Joe Hughes interacted with a young boy on the autism spectrum from a specialized school, who showed enthusiasm and a desire to try boxing. Joe intends to spend more time working with him during the summer holidays.

For some of the children I support, attending school isn’t always feasible due to various reasons, making it easier to find time to engage with them. However, when school is in session, it becomes more challenging to find those opportunities. It appeared that he gained something valuable from our interaction. When moments like this arise, the work becomes truly rewarding.

In the upcoming columns, the intention is to address the prevalent incompetence within the professional boxing arena, shedding light on the intricacies of the industry. Personal anecdotes about experiences and treatment over the years will be shared.

Additionally, the plan is to delve into the topic of the disability. This is a matter that is contemplated from both angles. There are moments when it is wondered if not having a disability would have led to becoming a world champion and attaining various achievements.

Yet, it is also acknowledged that the disability might have steered away from pursuing boxing or even stepping into a gym. The question of what life would have been like without it is often confronted. Unlike sustaining an injury at the age of 25 during a period of ascent, the entire life trajectory would have taken a different course.

Frequent messages are received from parents of children with Erb’s Palsy or other disabilities. It’s crucial to emphasize that having a disability doesn’t equate to a ruined or diminished life. Reassurance is given that accomplishments despite having Erb’s Palsy serve as proof that ambitions can be realized.

Part of the Derek Chisora fight last Saturday was managed to catch. He’s an captivating entertainer with a captivating personality. When it comes to his continuation in the ring, who are we to make that decision from the outside? If people choose not to watch, that’s their choice. If someone had told me that certain things couldn’t be achieved, it would have felt quite frustrating. Of course, the acknowledgement is made that the situations differ.

Concerns surrounding Chisora’s future well-being are inevitable, a sentiment that people have apprehensions about. The person who should carry the utmost concern regarding this matter is Chisora himself, along with his family. Ultimately, the decision rests with him. If he successfully clears the medical examinations, it appears that there are limited further actions that can be taken.

Regarding Anthony Joshua’s performance against Robert Helenius, it may not have been the most remarkable display. Joshua did what was necessary to secure victory, delivering a notable knockout. However, moments of hesitation when he considered unleashing his punches were noticed.

At times, distance was adeptly maintained, executing well-placed jabs, but instances were there he inadvertently smothered his own offensive opportunities. In the past, a rapid flurry of five or six strikes would have been unleashed, resulting in significant impact. Particularly against an opponent like Helenius, that’s the approach that would have been preferred to witness.

The circumstance of changing opponents so close to a fight certainly introduces challenges, and there are valid reasons that could account for the performance. Yet, can a foreseeing of Joshua regaining his standing as the best heavyweight in the world be made? Not based on that particular performance or recent showings.

However, it doesn’t imply that he cannot reclaim that status, but it’s evident that there’s a substantial amount of work yet to be accomplished. Ironically, the most pronounced display of his emotions occurred post-fight. It almost seemed as if there was a significant release of pent-up emotions, suggesting that the entire experience might have served as a form of mental catharsis for him.

During the upcoming weekend, a trip to Wales with the wife, eldest son, and I to hike up Pen Y Fan is planned. Our oldest is truly enthusiastic about such outdoor pursuits. Zeal has been shown by participating in a Race for Life previously, completing a 5k run in just 35 minutes, an impressive feat for a six-year-old. Confidence is held that the hike will be handled admirably; determination is quite evident.

On Saturday morning, the schedule will be occupied with coaching responsibilities. Then, on Sunday, the Women’s World Cup Final is scheduled. The eldest son holds a profound passion for football. During the match against Australia, excitement was palpable as leaping around the living room was observed. A victory would undoubtedly be a remarkable achievement.

When Monday arrives, it’s back to coaching and managing the work routine, navigating through the usual day-to-day tasks.


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