#HeadsUp! is a global programme developed by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) to promote the values of boxing and the global AIBA family.
Based upon the four pillars of health, education, sport and sustainability, AIBA begun the campaign at its 2015 World Boxing Championships in Doha with a focus on training boxers to maintain a heads-up stance to help prevent concussions and cuts.
The AIBA Medical Commission had been working behind the scenes at boxing competitions throughout 2015, concluding with a series of HeadsUp! workshops with World Championship referees in Qatar’s capital to help them anticipate issues before they occur and to warn boxers leading with the head.
The training of coaches will also be part of the ongoing education of the boxers in a bid to ensure that they go into bouts, not only with the correct stance, but the right mind-set to ultimately change the behaviour of leading with the head that came with the psychological protection of guards.
"It is essential that AIBA fulfils its duty to provide a strong, secure framework within which boxers can develop and excel from grassroots to pro competition," said AIBA President Ching-Kuo Wu at the launch.
"HeadsUp! will now be adopted by the world’s boxing Federations to help all of our athletes enjoy stable futures in their sport."
HeadsUp! has since been rolled out in Zambia and across Southern Africa following the finalisation of a new partnership with the National Olympic Committee of Zambia.
Under the HeadsUp! initiative, AIBA has sponsored five top young athletes from Fight for Peace, which uses boxing and martial arts combined with education and personal development to realise the potential of young people in communities suffering from high levels of crime and violence.
AIBA will support each of the athletes with one-year grants, giving them the means to continue training and participate in national and international competitions by covering travel and living costs as well as competition fees.
The world governing body has also confirmed the signing of the HeadsUp! Charter with the Brazilian Boxing Confederation, illustrating the strong support of National Federations.
AIBA and the Venezuelan Boxing Federation then organised a donation of essential training equipment to local boxing clubs under the HeadsUp initiative.
Accompanied by their coaches, dozens of young boys and girls attended the event in the presence of Wu, Venezuelan Boxing Federation President Fran Lopez, national boxing team member Yoel Finol and several local authorities.
Gloves, t-shirts, shorts and headguards provided by Top Ten were all given to members of the Hugo Chavez and Montesano boxing clubs in Vargas, before the kids went through their boxing exercises.
The AIBA President outlined the importance of supporting the development of boxing among the younger generation and giving them the right conditions to practice their favorite sport.