University champ boxes clever in Rio

A FORMER Edinburgh University boxing champion is leading a crusade to help street children in Brazil.

Luke Dowdney, 30, has set up a boxing club to help keep young people off the streets in the tough shanty town of Mare in Rio De Janeiro.

Working for the Viva Rio charity, Mr Dowdney has helped 40 boys through his club, Fight For Peace.

Mr Dowdney captained the university’s boxing team while studying for an anthropology degree from 1991 to 1995. Now he uses his talents to tackle the drug and gun culture in Rio which sees 3000 people shot dead each year.

He said: " It was something I thought would be a good way of attracting tough gang kids - a way to give them something positive and stop their involvement in crime and drug gangs."

Mr Dowdney has also written a book, called Children of the Drug Trade, which highlights the poverty, drugs and gun culture in Rio.