By Emily Goddard

England Boxing and the Schools Amateur Boxing Association have joined forces to boost boxing participation in schools ©England BoxingEngland Boxing and the Schools Amateur Boxing Association (SABA) have joined forces in a move to increase the number of schools offering a child-friendly, non-contact version of the sport across the country.

The national governing body will accredit SABA's coaching awards programme, while the agreement will support England Boxing's Whole Sport Plan by increasing participation, enhancing school club links, contributing to the performance pathway and creating opportunities for coach development, leadership and volunteering.

"There has been significant growth in boxing in schools in recent years where it is now offered in over a third of secondary schools," Caspar Hobbs, the chairman of England Boxing, said.

"All the evidence demonstrates that it is a very safe form of sporting exercise for young children and the fact it is already on offer in over 2,000 schools shows that teachers, Principals and parents now recognise the vast range of benefits boxing can deliver for pupils and the school as a whole.

"By combining SABA's expertise with our own, we aim to build on the growth of the sport, reach more schools and give increasing numbers of young people the opportunity to learn the skills of boxing in a safe and enjoyable environment."

Recent Department for Education figures suggest that boxing is offered in some 2,149 schools, which covers 10 per cent of all schools and 38 per cent of secondary schools, and SABA chairman Rod Robertson now hopes the partnership will help to boost these statistics further.

"There is a growing body of evidence to show that boxing, along with many other sports, delivers enormous benefits in schools and has a very positive impact on the whole educational environment," he said.

"It teaches students to the learn the value of practice, self-discipline and commitment which in turn help to create positive attitudes and build self-esteem - often in people that had lacked confidence.

"From a health point of view, it delivers multiple fitness benefits and has a proven track record of engaging previously inactive children in physical activity and can play an important role in combatting the growing threat of childhood obesity.

"By working together with England Boxing, we aim to enable all school aged children that would like to try boxing to have the opportunity to sample it and aim to deliver an experience that is so enjoyable and rewarding that they choose to stay involved in the sport until adulthood and beyond."

SABA's partnership with England Boxing has also been endorsed by SABA Patron and former Minister for Sport, Lord Pendry, and its President, John Morris, former Secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control.

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