Charity ‘Gloves Up Knives Down’ today officially launched its ‘Preventive Intervention’ scheme that aims to reduce knife crime on the streets by giving kids a free-starter boxing kit and lessons – effectively providing a positive path in life than that of a life on the street.
World Champion Cruiserweight Johnny Nelson hosted the launch at the iconic Repton Boxing Club, with guests including ex-boxer Kevin Mitchell and prospective London Mayor candidate Shaun Bailey.
The charity works closely with communities across London to provide increased access to boxing facilities and lessons for young people from troubled communities. Today’s launch saw boxers past and present support the new campaign targeting seven to 13-year-olds, discussing the benefits of getting children into sport and how boxing can boost mental well-being while keeping young people out of dangerous trouble.
The event debuted the charity’s promotional film ‘The Gift’ with its soundtrack ‘Put the Glove On’ by Son Of and was also attended by London politician and the Conservative candidate for the 2020 London mayoral election, Shaun Bailey.
Founded in March last year, Gloves Up Knives Down is a Community Interest Company committed to supporting young people living in communities impacted by knife crime – providing access to boxing training to help them lead healthy lives away from crime.
The charity is funded through sales of its merchandise t-shirts and third-party donations.
Speaking at the event World Champion Cruiserweight Johnny Nelson, said: “The discipline and respect that children and young adults can learn through boxing helps to challenge the violence they may see in their local community or streets.
“Boxing provided me so much and I’m passionate about passing on that same an opportunity to young people. It can be an outlet to channel their frustrations in a more positive way and a place to meet like-minded people. The boxing gym is where I was lucky enough to meet my coach and mentor Brendan Ingle. And I hope that from today’s launch and all of the work Gloves Up Knives Down do, we make a difference to kids both in London and nationwide.
“The starter kits are a great way to get kids involved and with the support of local businesses, the charity can get these out to more children and more communities. Building the physical fitness and mental wellbeing of young people we in turn help create stronger communities and hopefully strengthen the fight against violent crime.”
David Edgell, one of the co-founders of GUKD adds: “GUKD was intended to become a social media platform for professional and amateur boxers to express solidarity with a passionate group of boxing fans, seeking a solution to try and stop for the increasing prevalence of knife crime. By designing a striking graphic for a t shirt with a message, the initiative has inadvertently become a strong brand with a message, a product and a service.
“GUKD is a compelling movement and has now captured the imagination of the government and media alike through its academic veracity and ever-growing support in London and beyond. It is now a Community Interest Company leading the fight against knife crime, which attracts and invites donors to pledge a mere £65 to change the life of a youngster, possibly the youngster’s family, the youngster’s peers, with the intention of actually saving lives. Our promotional movie ‘The Gift’ demonstrates what we do in less than 50 seconds, with its own anthem ‘Put the Glove on’ written and performed by Son Of.”
Mayoral Candidate Shaun Bailey said: “Having spent 20 years as a youth worker I have seen first-hand how sport can be harnessed to change people’s lives, and Gloves Up Knives Down is a prime example of what can be done.
“This is more than just an opportunity to try a new sport. It offers young people hope. Boxing provides discipline, structure and reinforces the value of hard work. Some of these kids may go on to become the next Anthony Joshua, and those that don’t will become assets to their local communities and productive members of society.”
Knife crime levels in the UK are the highest on record, with London accounting for 14,725 knife crime offences, a third of all knife crime in the UK.
The enterprise worked on Professor Joana Carvalho Costa’s ‘preventative intervention’ model to build their programme. Professor Costa is the former United Nations psychological consultant for child and youth development.
Last year the charity launched a governmental petition to reintroduce Boxing to the National Curriculum GUKD. The incentive has a precedented professional and amateur boxing following including Tyson Fury.