Woolwich man to tackle knife crime through boxing in London

A man from Woolwich is “determined” to encourage youths to “drop their knives” through the “discipline” of boxing.

Ryan Biddiss has teamed up with organisation, London Scrapz, to hold boxing classes in Lewisham and Woolwich on January 28 and 29. 

He wants to support families across south east London by keeping them safe from knife crime.

He first decided to tackle knife crime after seeing a mum of a stabbing victim “wash her son’s blood off the floor” in Woolwich.

News Shopper: Ryan BiddisRyan Biddis (Image: Ryan)

After witnessing the “horrific” moment, Ryan felt he had to do something to try to stop the knife incidents in the streets.

The 27-year-old told the News Shopper: “I remember the exact moment.

“I got a lump in my throat and had goosebumps when I saw that poor mum.

“No one should ever go through that.

“I knew I had to do something to make a difference and do the best I can to save lives.”

Ryan launched a knife amnesty group, named Protect Our Children, in a bid to get rid of dangerous weapons being used for crime.

He began the group after suffering from depression following the death of his father, prompting him to change his life.

Ryan previously worked with young people for a number of years, working at different community centres, before setting up the group.

News Shopper: Boxing lesson in LewishamBoxing lesson in Lewisham (Image: Ryan)

Ryan explained: “As knife crime campaigners we go out on the streets and tackle these problems head-on.

“It is important that we all play a part in stopping knife crime.

“The community needs to get together and stop these nightmares.

“It’s all done anonymously where people get in contact with me, to get rid of their weapons.”

Following the launch of the group, Ryan has now decided to hold boxing classes for youths, encouraging them to “drop knives”.

Ryan was inspired by the Gloves up and Knifes down organisation and decided to launch lessons in south east London. 

News Shopper: Ryan donating bleed control kitsRyan donating bleed control kits (Image: Ryan)

Gloves Up Knives Down, which was founded in 2019, supports young people living in communities affected by knife crime through boxing.

Ryan explained: “I was inspired by them and the amazing work they do.

“I believe boxing is such a disciplined sport, which can encourage young people to drop their knives and get involved.”

Two separate boxing sessions will be held in Woolwich and Lewisham between 11am until 3pm on January 28 and 29

The first session will take place outside Woolwich Station and the second class will be at Moonshot Centre in Lewisham.

Ryan explained: “They (London Scrapz) organise sessions outside on the street for a couple of hours with boxing gloves and pads.

“I reached out to them, and they were more than happy to bring something to south east London.

“People can just turn up and have a one-on-one pad work with some of the guys at London Scrapz.

“You don’t even have to box, just come on down and talk with me and the guys.

“It’s a great way to release energy and just have fun really.”

Ryan also wants the community to remember Teon Campbell Pitter, who was stabbed to death outside the Moonshot Centre on April 13.

16-year-old Teon was found with stab injuries at the scene close to Fordham Park.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ryan explained: “One of the reasons we’re holding it at the Moonshot Center is to remember Teon as he was a massive boxing fan.

“I don’t want people to forget the young lives we’ve lost to knife crime like him.

“I briefly spoke to Teon’s mum who was happy that we’re doing something like this, it made me happy and excited hearing this.”

Ryan is now calling councils across London to encourage youths in doing extra curriculum activities.

He added: “As I already said, boxing and sports in general are a great way for people to release their energy.

“We as the community and councils need to promote sports classes such as boxing to the young children.

“It’s honestly so vital in promoting this kind of thing because it can help save lives and hopefully reduce knife crime.”

Ryan hopes to introduce more boxing sessions across London with the help of social media influencers.

He explained: “I’ve reached out to many celebrities who can help me in spreading my message.

“Unfortunately, not many respond back to me, and it’s upsetting to see really because we need to help young people and reduce knife crime.

“I know social media influencer boxing is a big thing at the moment so having them help us with events like this would be amazing.”

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