KOBOX Boxing Club has teamed up with Rainbow Railroad, a charity formed in Canada which provides safety to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified (LGBTI) people who are living in fear for their freedom, their safety and their lives.
Across the world, many in the LGBTI community are open targets of violence, and many have nowhere to turn because their government and police not only tolerate, but encourage, this brutality.
Rainbow Railroad exists to help these people get out of danger to somewhere safe, and now KOBOX Boxing Club has partnered with the charity to raise awareness and funds for the cause, starting with the UK.
KOBOX only last month launched its PROUD campaign with Attitude magazine in a bid to break down the stigma attached to boxing, as well as alter the hostile image of the sport, within the LGBTI community.
Although its PROUD promotional video was targeted at gay men in particular – Attitude’s direct readership – KOBOX is now making strides to made a difference across the whole LGBTI community, and not just within the sporting world.
Daniel Allen, Development Manager at Rainbow Railroad, said: "Our mission is simple. We provide pathways to safety for LGBTI people at risk of persecution and physical danger in their home countries.
"As a Canadian gay man living in London myself, I know only what it feels like to be free to live life as I choose.
"There are many likeminded people in London that are interested in lending support to our cause, and the partnership with KOBOX will allow us to not only raise important resources for our survivors, but to spread our message in hopes of rallying much more support."
KOBOX will start by donating profits from its PROUD clothing range to Rainbow Railroad, as well as organise a host of special classes and celebrity-run events to raise funds and awareness for the charity.
KOBOX trainer and former Britain’s Got Talent winner Doug Fordyce, who additionally is donating all his KOBOX class payments throughout the week of Pride in London to the charity, said: "When I first heard about Rainbow Railroad, it immediately struck a chord with me. Not only is their work so massively relevant, it is courageous and so vitally necessary in today’s current climate.
"The first question I asked was, 'What can I do to help?' I’m lucky enough to be part of such an incredible company – KOBOX has not only given me more self-confidence and pride, it’s made me feel completely accepted and given me the opportunity to be unapologetically me.
"‘This is exactly what those who are saved through Rainbow Railroad also need, but on a far more crucial level.
"Immediately I knew the two companies could work hand in hand, to continue driving this important issue forward. I’m so excited to be a part of this partnership, and can’t wait to see what we can achieve together."
Kris Pace, KOBOX Brand Director, added: "With our PROUD campaign, we said it was just the beginning, and we meant it…
"As soon as we were introduced to the team at Rainbow Railroad, immediately we knew we’d do everything we could to help raise awareness for this incredible charity, starting with the UK.
"This is about as hard-hitting as it gets – they’re literally saving people’s lives on a daily basis – plucking them from real danger and violence and rehoming them in safe places.
"People need to hear about the work they’re doing and get behind it. We may be the first in the UK to do this, but we’re hoping many more will follow.
"Our PROUD campaign was launched to help men in the gay community feel comfortable about trying their hand at boxing, and we hope we’ve gone some way to achieving that, but this is far greater than sport. This, in some cases, is literally a matter of life or death."