In just one month the social enterprise has gone national, with clubs in Islington and Hackney and legendary boxers David Haye and Tyson Fury among those getting behind the project. It’s early days but the aim is to provide free boxing lessons and kit to children aged seven to 13.
David, 61, explained: “This is primary prevention – getting to kids young so they learn about the alternatives to knives and street life.
“Knife crime is in the news all the time, but the authorities don’t know anything about it and don’t do anything – there’s a lot of talking; they say it’s a disease but I don’t believe it is. From a sociological point of view, it’s much more than that. I imagine it’s about gang warfare, I imagine it’s about drugs, bravado and earning stripes.
“As a parent you’re motivated to do something because the politicians and authorities aren’t doing it. Boxing is such a good conduit – it’s a way of using mental aggression in a structured way, it teaches discipline and respect for your opponent and it covers all races and genders. Boxing is a real fraternity.
“Not only can boxing save lives but the skills it teaches can enhance life opportunities for young people.”
The idea for Gloves Up Knives Down came about when the team behind social media platform 24/7 Boxing (Joe Brett, Dane Nicklen and Finn Barrett) were looking for a way to use the strong following they’d amassed. With knife crime being covered in the news daily, it seemed like a good opportunity to help.
David works in fashion and is friends with the guys behind 24/7 Boxing. One of his contacts donated 1,000 t-shirts which they’re selling and donating to boxing clubs to raise funds and awareness, they built a website and are lobbying parliament.
The aim is to help young people lead fulfilling and healthy lives away from crime, channel energy and frustrations in a more productive way, build physical fitness and mental well-being and create stronger communities.
Knife crime is at its highest levels since records began in the UK, with London accounting for 14,725 knife crime offences, a third of all knife crime offences in the UK, including 74 murders in 2018.
15-year-old Tashaun Jones was killed in Somerford Grove on Wednesday May 1, bringing the total number of murders by stabbing to 29 so far this year in London. Gloves Up Knives Down is particularly keen to reach communities affected by knife crime.
“If what we do is responsible for one life being saved, then we will have achieved our objective.”
Posted 13th May 2019