Boxing legends joining Nottingham skipathon for ‘Bomber’ Graham

Boxing legend Johnny Nelson, left with Graham, right, and Marcellus Baz, centre.

British boxing legends Frank Bruno and Johnny Nelson are among more than 100 people expected to take part in a 24-hour sponsored skipathon in aid of former Nottingham fighter Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham.

Taking place on Saturday, March 17, at Nottingham School of Boxing on Woodborough Road, St Ann’s, the 24-hour event will raise money for Graham, who was recently admitted to a mental health hospital.

Graham is widely considered to be the best British boxer never to have won a world title, and is a patron of the school.

He grew up in Radford before becoming one of the world’s most feared and skilled middleweights in the 1980s and 1990s, but has faced a battle with mental health since retiring in 1998.

Club founder and coach Marcellus Baz, who has organised the event, said: “Herol has been an amazing figure in our gym for many years, many people have benefited from his kindness and we are raising money to be there for him while he needs it most.”

Besides former world champions Bruno and Nelson, players from Nottingham Forest, Notts County, Nottingham Rugby and Nottingham Panthers are also taking part on Saturday from 3pm.

Around 100 people are expected to take part in the event, which will finish at 3pm on Sunday (March 18).

Johnny Nelson, patron of Nottingham School of Boxing, said: “It’s great what Baz and his team are doing to support Herol, but more importantly it’s fantastic to see the whole city coming together to raise awareness and remove the stigma attached to mental health.”

Herol Graham had been teaching young fighters at Nottingham School of boxing before his ill health.

Baz added: “To have the support from such iconic people and local heroes is something that I always find amazing. People like Frank and Johnny have been so good to us and I am eternally grateful to everyone who’ll be picking up the ropes for Herol.”

Anyone who wishes to get involved with the skipathon should head to the event’s Facebook page to register their interest.

Graham, 58, retired in 1998 and faced an uphill struggle to find purpose outside the sport, having battled depression.

He returned to coaching in Nottingham with Baz in early 2017, but in January 2018 he was admitted to a mental health unit in London.