A boxer who has worked with legend Anthony Joshua believes the sport can help "diminish and get rid of gang culture".

Leroy Nicholas, 49, from Harrow, helps mentor school children through boxing training.

He believes the training can teach children valuable life lessons, including resilience, self-control and focus, so they don't turn to knife crime.

The boxing instructor said: “People who carry knives don’t carry them because they’re tough and they’re able to look after themselves it’s because they are unable to do so and feel like they have to protect themselves.

“When you build kids to have the ability and knowledge of themselves about what they’re capable of then knives are no longer an option and they find that’s not the way they want to go.

Harrow Times:

(Leroy Nicholas, boxing instructor)

“They say carrying a knife makes you six times more likely to get stabbed.

“I always say to the children in the session that the power is now in their hands as they will be leading a world for their children to grow up in.”

Mr Nicholas started boxing classes at schools in 2005 after realising the extent of knife crime in the area and the world his daughter, now 19, was going to grow up in.

Leroy noticed the benefits of boxing after he trained a young man who was struggling at school and who was putting his family under a lot of stress.

He added: “This young gentleman came down to my boxing gym because his mum brought him, and I had a heart to heart chat with him about my personal experiences with my mum.

“At the end he was welling up and I left him alone for five minutes and that was three years ago, and he now is one of the best boxers I’ve ever seen, and he is one of my proudest moments.”

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Mr Nicholas believes his sport can play a massive role in reducing knife crime by installing a different mentality into children.

He spoke out about the subject after a report by the digital, culture, media and sports committee suggested getting children involved in boxing could help lower knife crime.

Mr Nicholas worked with Watford-born Anthony Joshua in the build-up of him winning the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.

The boxing legend is a patron for Mr Nicholas' company SweetScience Boxing, which provides boxing classes to children in schools across the country, including Northwood.

Mr Nicholas continued: “Boxing is so transferable to everyday life it teaches them focus and trains the brain to face the way the world is geared up today.

“Today, children’s brains can have such short attention spans because everything is now so quick, so it trains their brain to be able to focus and concentrate which helps their education.”

Mr Nicholas also focuses on the health of young children teaching them about nutrition and how to take better care of their bodies.

He said: “I often ask what kids have had for lunch and its quite alarming the amount that say they’ve eaten a sausage roll and red bull, or Mars bar or can of coke.

“That is twice your daily sugar allowance, or they’ve either had nothing at all and this all comes into the problem of attention span.

“We should start talking about breakfast plan rather than just attention plan."