Sheffield’s former international boxing champion Ross Burkinshaw videos himself smoking cannabis and posts it on social media

Ross Burkinshaw at his Sheffield gym."
Ross Burkinshaw at his Sheffield gym."

A Sheffield gym owner and former European boxing champion has filmed himself smoking cannabis for the first time and posted it on social media.

Ross Burkinshaw was on holiday in Canada, where the recreational use of marijuana is legal.

He posted a video of himself smoking a pure cannabis joint and sipping gin, saying: "They say when in Rome do as the Romans do! Cannabis is legal like it should be in Britain. This is the first spliff/blunt I’ve ever rolled and tried, no tobacco just pure cannabis."

In the film, Burkinshaw described the sensation as "alright" adding: "Better not get done when I get back to England!"

Burkinshaw, a former Commonwealth, English and WBO European champion who retired from the ring three years ago and now runs a gym in Handsworth, admitted his film had caused controversy - and it has caused a stir amongst some in the boxing community.

One of his contemporaries said: "Ross is a great lad, but he has to be careful on what sort of message this sends out."

Ross Burkinshaw tries a joint

Ross Burkinshaw tries a joint

When The Star approached Burkinshaw, he was quick to clarify that he was not condoning either drug use or smoking.

"If it was legal in the UK it would be great for medicinal purposes," he said.

"My cousin said to try it as I'd been complaining how much my shoulder (a previous boxing injury) was hurting at night and that I couldn't get a full sleep. It worked after about 10 minutes I was a lot more relaxed and pain was going. Also the next day it wasn't aching as much as usual.

"I had it without any tobacco in so there's no addiction to nicotine. I wouldn't recommend for people to have in the day time or when driving and certainly wouldn't recommend for athletes training. But if it was 100% legal, after talking to people and reading up about it, it could aid recovery after certain injuries."

Cannabis

Cannabis

Burkinshaw, aged 32, said it was important to him that he did not want to project an image which may be misunderstood by children.

The NHS issues strict warnings about the class B drug which has been illegal in the UK since 1971: "Research shows 10% of regular cannabis users become dependent on it. If you stop using it, you may get withdrawal symptoms.

"If you smoke cannabis with tobacco, you're likely to get addicted to nicotine and risk getting tobacco-related diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease.

"Regular cannabis use increases your risk of developing a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia.

Ross Burkinshaw tries a joint

Ross Burkinshaw tries a joint

"People who smoke cannabis regularly are more likely to have bronchitis."

The NHS accept that cannabis ingredients is also used to relieve the pain of muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis."

*Cannabis remains illegal to possess, grow, distribute, sell or grow in the UK. However, medicinal cannabis is available on prescription.

Ross Burkinshaw at his Sheffield gym

Ross Burkinshaw at his Sheffield gym