ITC: Matchroom Boxing x StreetGames, Manchester

April 13 2024

Inspirational Experience: When Arissa met Rhiannon...

Saturday evening saw Matchroom Boxing team up with the StreetGames Inspiration Campaign once again, to offer a memorable VIP backstage experience to one of their outstanding Youth Advisory Board members, Arissa Raja.

Arissa was afforded the opportunity of sitting ringside with Head of Community Development, Alex Le Guével, before being greeted backstage by the new WBO Lightweight World Champion, Rhiannon Dixon, who shared advice and guidance about her journey into boxing – as well as pledging to further support Arissa with a visit to one of her local community initiatives!

In addition, Arissa was fortunate enough to bump into Charlie Parsons and Sunny Edwards who again shared their own words of wisdom with Arissa. Having started out in journalism at the same age as Arissa, it was particularly insightful to hear Charlie’s recipe for success, with the key ingredient being hard work!

At just 16 years old, Arissa is already heavily involved in shaping local sports provision in Manchester, regularly teaming up with the Mayor of Greater Manchester – Andy Burnham, to offer vital input from a young person’s perspective.

Arissa is also a member of the Manchester United Foundation Street Reds (Premier League Kicks) programme, where she supports work around youth violence prevention and personal development. Her work with the Foundation has led to her being awarded with the Community Captain award, as part of the Premier League’s More Than A Game campaign – with the presentation being made by Manchester United Captain, Bruno Fernandes.

Arissa's Blog: The experience in her own words...

Having become involved with StreetGames last year through my role as a Young Advisor, recently I was fortunate enough to be invited to a Matchroom Boxing event at Manchester’s AO Arena, where I got to go backstage and meet some incredible people that I idolise and look up to. I was honoured to meet some amazing people, including one of the night’s winners Rhiannon Dixon, as well as Matchroom Chairman Eddie Hearn, Manchester City player John Stones, The Stomping Ground founder Charlie Parsons, commentator Steve Bunce and boxers Sunny Edwards and Anthony Crolla.

The entire night was a dream. I saw some fantastic fights, and being backstage and getting to see how everything is so well thought out made me enjoy the experience even more. I was grateful for all the fighters and people who I spoke to for taking time out of their day to have a chat.

Rhiannon Dixon became World Champion that night, and seeing it happen with my own eyes made me want to dream and aim for the same thing. I met people who I know will be a part of my life in the future and will help me achieve everything I want to.

None of this would have been possible without StreetGames and Alex Le Guével at Matchroom Boxing and I would like to thank them for giving me this opportunity. My love for boxing has only grown and as a Young Advisor for StreetGames I have many new ideas, which include boxing, that I would love to share.

It was definitely a night I will never forget and I’m forever thankful to everybody who made it happen. I look forward to working with StreetGames and Alex in the future to see how far I can get. That night proved that anything is possible if you are committed enough and have enough passion.

Speaking about the developing partnership between Matchroom Boxing and StreetGames, Head of Community Development Alex Le Guével, was keen to highlight how both organisations’ visions are closely aligned.

“The Inspiration Campaign connects young people with opportunities that genuinely inspire and transform lives,” said Le Guével.

“Our vision for community development at Matchroom places increased emphasis on supporting areas of high need and people who are experiencing elements of marginalisation. As such, we were very keen to engage with the programme – utilising our events to provide access to tickets and impactful work placements to youngsters who otherwise might never have had these chances,” he continued.

“Arissa will never forget the experience that we’ve been able to provide for her tonight and we will endeavour to support her journey as much as we possibly can from here.”

Find out more about StreetGames and the positive impact they are having on young lives through sport here.