IT has been 10 years in the making, but after hanging up his boxing gloves Martin Murray is now ready launch a project that will make a difference to young people with behavioural problems.

The five-time World title contender has drawn deeply on his own troubled youth to set up an academy based at the Wildcard boxing gym in Parr to primarily guide youngsters in danger of going off the rails back on to the right path.

He has already had a preliminary meeting with the Engagement team at Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner’s office.

And he has a meeting booked with St Helens Council leader David Baines and other senior council figures with a view to starting the ThinkF.A.S.T (finding a solution together) academy in October which will be offering a boxing-based programme with classroom sessions within it.

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Murray, now 38, was excited about this big project now that he can devote time to it since retiring from the ring following his final world title challenge against Billy Joe Saunders in December 2020.

He said: “We are offering different programmes, but we will be starting with young people with behavioural problems in the schools. We will also be doing ones for school holidays that any youngster can do.

“When I qualified to be a youth worker in 2011 me and my wife Gemma wrote the plan together and have had it sat away there for all this time.

“Now that I have retired from boxing, and nobody has taken it up, then I am just going to do it.

“The angle I am coming from is that I have been there, been in trouble, been that naughty lad in school and unfortunately ended up in prison.

“I managed to turn my life around.

“I can look at and relate to these young people, and I see it every day, and really do think I can help them.

“I am continuing with something that has always been a passion of mine, and I think it’s needed now more than ever.”

Murray, originally from Fingerpost but now living in Warrington, was looking to start the programme in October after the first month of the school year, but says it is ready to go.

And he will also be doing a programme with Wildcard coach Dom Hodnett for the Bonfire/Mischief period in the autumn.

“I am looking forward to and excited about getting it going. It has been 10 years in the making but we are ready to launch it and I really do think we can make a difference in people’s lives,” he said.