Derby boxers with cerebral palsy hope to make sporting history with public bout

ITV News Central Correspondent Mark Gough went to meet two men from Derby who want to make sporting history

Two men from Derby are about to make sporting history - by being the first people with cerebral palsy to have a boxing match.

Imraan Adam and John Clarke have been best friends for years, and both have the condition, meaning they each use a wheelchair. While wheelchair boxing is an established sport, fighting with cerebral palsy might well be.

Not only will do they want to change sporting history, the pair also hope to end stigma around their condition by showing that people with cerebral palsy can achieve whatever they want - provided they put their minds to it.

"I've always been a big fan of boxing anyway from the days of Mike Tyson," said Imraan. "I want to show other disabled people you can achieve your dreams in life. Just because you're in a wheelchair doesn't mean you can't achieve anything you put your mind to."

Since it was announced that the friends were taking part in a public bout on Saturday in Derby, they've also won support from celebrity fans including the world heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury.

Tyson Fury has shown his support to the boxers Credit: Handout / ITV News Central

Their journey to the ring began after John was turned away from boxing training at his local gym. He bumped into Dan Gray, who, incidentally, was coaching Imraan at a different boxing gym in Derby.

"I said, listen, mate, anything is possible. If you want to do it, we will do it," Dan said of their meeting.

"And I've got you an opponent and his name's Imraan."

"He knew him, and, you know, they were mates. They went to uni together. And John's words were, If I box him, I'm going to knock him out."

"We wanted to challenge ourselves because neither if us had done anything like this before," explained John.

Imraan agrees. "I want to challenge myself and push the boundaries," he said.

"That's the whole point of this. We want to break down boundaries and break down a stereotypical images that just because you're in a wheelchair you've got to sit at home and just exist.

"In life, we want to live life to the fullest degree possible."

Celebrities including Mike Tyson and his father, John, sent messages of support to Imraan and Adam

Along with their coach and friends, John and Imraan have received messages of support from celebrities including Tyson Fury, John Fury, and Fast and Furious star Martyn Ford.

"This is a special message for two boxing legends, John and Imraan," said Tyson Fury in a video message. "Good luck in your fight boys, absolutely smash it, do the best you can. God bless, all the best."

"Special video to John and Imraan," said John, Tyson's father, adding his message of support for the pair. "Good luck lads you're doing fabulous. Proud of you - keep going.

"Big up the boys."

The bout will play out this Saturday night at Alston Hall in Derby.