When English actor Idris Elba visited South Africa to shoot Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, he was inspired by how youngsters in the township were transformed through a local boxing club. This sparked his new series Idris Elba’s Fight School which is set to premiere on 16 June, to coincide with Youth Day in South Africa.
A VISIT TO SOUTH AFRICA
Idris Elba’s Fight School is described as a “life-changing and highly personal project” for the talented actor. After visiting the township in South Africa, Elba was stunned to see the conditions of many people’s living situations.
“I went to the township and there was a boxing gym there. These guys who had set up the fight school lowered the crime rate and got kids literally out of trouble.”
“The trainers there really saw the value of giving these kids a place to come, train and stay away from crime. That was quite inspiring to watch and it stuck with me,” recalled Elba.
‘IDRIS ELBA’S FIGHT SCHOOL’
When he returned to the United Kingdom, the 47-year-old actor decided to set up his own fight school to empower young adults facing challenges such as poverty, crime and mental health issues.
In Idris Elba’s Fight School eight youngsters work with some of the UK’s leading boxing coaches and life mentors, with the aim of competing in an official amateur boxing fight at one of the world’s most iconic boxing venues, York Hall in London.
“Looking back at my own experiences, I’m reminded of how powerful boxing can be for disadvantaged young people giving them a sense of purpose. This was the inspiration behind Fight School,” said Elba.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
‘YOU NEED TO FIND A DEEPER PURPOSE’
One of the Idris Elba’s Fight School participants, Chainka, says the project helped her deal with personal trauma.
“Learning to box was intense; it is not easy. You need to find a deeper purpose, but I did it and I loved it. Boxing is both mentally and physically stimulating. It gives you a purpose and drive to achieve something you don’t think you can do”.
Idris Elba’s Fight School is available to watch on Britbox from 16 June.