The International Boxing Academy has accused college chiefs of "academic snobbery" and "a disgraceful betrayal" this week following a fight about the status of the Olympic sport.
Students from the academy, based at East Durham Community College, which was set up to attract disaffected youths back to education, had been invited to perform a synchronised skipping routine at the Association of Colleges annual conference in Harrogate. However, officials decided that boxing was "too controversial" and the performance was axed.
Ian Prescott, college principal, said the students had been victims of an ill-informed snub, probably influenced by the furore surrounding Mike Tyson's fight in Glasgow.
Mr Prescott said: "When we launched the academy last year, the intention was to bring individuals into education who were traditionally opting out. Our record has been fantastic: most of our boxers would never have gone near a classroom if it wasn't for the academy, and some are now on their way to university."