Amateur boxing in Belfast is to receive funding in the region of £45,000 over the next four months.
Belfast City Council agreed to support the Amateur Boxing Strategy following a vote at City Hall on Monday night.
The proposal to continue the funding was made by Sinn Fein Councillor Matt Garrett and was won by 33 votes to 18.
County Antrim Boxing Board president Paddy Barnes Snr welcomed the news, but said more hard work would be needed to extend the funding beyond November.
“The plan is that the strategy will receive £45,000 over the next four months, and then in November we will review the situation,” he said.
“The long-term aim is to make sure the Amateur Boxing Strategy is included in the rates planning for Belfast.
“We are delighted that this funding has been agreed, but it is disappointing that some political parties used this for party politics.
“This is a boxing strategy and politics should never come into it.
“The £45,000 will buy us time, and we will work with all councillors to see what way we can progress this strategy in the future. There is still a lot of work to be done.
“We have been working off £200,000 per year for the past three-and-a-half years, so we have taken quite a hit already. We need a proper long-term strategy agreed, and not token gestures.
“We knew we wouldn’t get the £200,000, but this buys us time and will help us continue the hard work we have been doing in Belfast.”
More than 100 protesters demonstrated outside City Hall prior to Monday’s council meeting.
Sinn Fein Cllr Garrett welcomed the success of the vote, but admitted it was “sad” that the funding decision went that far.
“It is sad that some parties decided to vote against this strategy. It is bitterly disappointing it didn’t get the full support of the council,” he said.
“But thankfully it received enough votes to be passed, and it is positive news for local boxing clubs.
“The strategy will receive this funding between now and November, and then we look at securing additional money to tie it over to the end of the financial year.
“We will also be looking at the strategy to receive support for 2018.”
Cllr Garrett added: “This strategy deserves the support of Belfast City Council. When you consider the number of champions this city has produced in boxing, we should be offering the sport as much help as we can.
“Carl Frampton, Mick Conlan, Paddy Barnes – the list is endless. We are producing talented boxers from all sections of the community, and we will continue producing them if we get the right financial support.
“It was fantastic seeing so many boxing people down at City Hall tonight to demonstrate against these cuts. Hopefully this decision will encourage them.”
It emerged last week that funding for grassroots boxing in Belfast was set to be cut to just £24,000 per year – a drop of 81 per cent.
The 10-year strategy – in partnership with the Co Antrim Boxing board, Ulster Boxing Council, Sport NI and the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) – was implemented in 2013.
It involved an initial three-year plan which was funded to the tune of approximately £200,000 per year, which included money for a sports development officer and two community-based coaches.