AIBA and AFBC launch 2017 Year of Africa to deliver enduring legacy for boxing among the continent’s 54 National Federations

March 16th, 2017 / IBA

AIBA launches the 2017 AIBA Year of Africa on 16 March in South Africa, a continent-wide programme with a direct reach of more than 750,000 people across 12 regional Hubs through initiatives including the HeadsUp Truck, AIBA’s new GlovesUp gateway into boxing and 4,835 certified course places, set to initiate a 250% increase in the number of certified Coaches, R&Js and technical staff and herald in a new era in which African boxing can thrive

Conceived in collaboration with the African Boxing Confederation and to be implemented by the continent’s 54 National Federations, the 2017 Year of Africa has been imagined to bring education, empowerment and a lasting legacy for the region’s boxing at the start of the Tokyo 2020 Cycle. Through 12 principal Hubs of activity around the continent, AIBA and the AFBC will host workshops, certified courses and provide hands-on boxing experience to instigate a 250% increase in Africa’s pool of R&Js, coaches and technical staff. Through the development of new partnerships between AIBA, AFBC and the 54 National Federations, the project will provide a stronger framework for the administration of boxing in the region and, by engaging a new audience in the sport with the new GlovesUp course gateway, help to develop Africa’s future generations of boxing champions.

“The clear aspiration behind the Year of Africa is the desire to see the continent’s boxers better represented at major tournaments, including Tokyo 2020, but we are also building a legacy that will be felt beyond the next Olympic Games and that will speak to generations of sportsmen and women to come. AIBA wants to bring efficiency, education and empowerment to its NFs so we can engender a shift in the perception of boxing all over the world, making explicit the positive effects of discipline and personal achievement on the psyche of young men and women and explain the unique career pathways and opportunities that are made available to them through boxing,” said AIBA President Dr Ching Kuo Wu.

At the heart of the Year of Africa is a broad education programme that will ensure that the NFs, coaches, boxers and those aspiring to join the AIBA family are aware of the opportunities open to them, explaining boxing’s ethical code and positive values and encouraging more young people to embrace the sport. The GlovesUp initiative will provide a new entry-point into boxing and AIBA as an organisation, what it represents and the certification courses on offer, with an emphasis on the AIBA code and the expectations placed on those taking part. In total, 4,835 certified course places will be made available to expand the pool of R&Js, coaches and technical staff.

The Year of Africa has been designed to empower AIBA’s 54 Member National Federations by giving them the tools and guidance to take full ownership of their nearest Hub activities. Communication and engagement are vital to the project’s success, and the NFs will be expected to organise and coordinate with the widest possible audience, laying foundations for future bids to host major tournaments.

The Year of Africa relies on the collective spirit of the National Federations in order to produce a cumulative impact on African boxing. In conjunction with Taishan Sports Equipment, a HeadsUp truck will house a portable ring and training equipment to bring the thrill of boxing closer to the people, while USD$100,000 of equipment has been earmarked for donation to local gyms and schools. This short-term impact on the sport’s profile is important, but the true legacy will be felt when young talent can be trained by new coaches and guided by efficient NFs to compete at the highest levels of AIBA competition.

“By targeting the grass-roots of the sport whilst at the same time engaging and connecting our extended boxing family, the Year of Africa is an incredible opportunity for the sport on our continent that we must seize with both hands. Africa is proud to be the focus of AIBA’s first ‘Year Of’ project, and we look forward to showing our great potential, energy and enthusiasm to the world,” said AFBC President Mr Kelani Bayor.

Year of Africa in action

The HeadsUp Truck will visit four Hubs: Togo, the Congo capital city Brazzaville for the duration of the AFBC Continental Championships, the Olympic Centre of Excellence in Zambia and South Africa, before heading to Hamburg for the 2017 AIBA World Championships beginning on 25 August. The remaining hubs will be announced shortly for the second half of 2017, with the workshops, courses and associated Year of Africa activities continuing through to the end of the year.

“The South African National Boxing Organisation (SANABO) is honoured to have been selected to host the launch event for the 2017 Year of Africa. We are looking forward to working even more closely with AIBA, the AFBC and our fellow National Federations to build a stronger sport of boxing for all Africans as we plan for a successful Olympic Cycle towards Tokyo 2020,” said SANABO President Mr Andile Mofu.

Following the implementation of the flagship Year of Africa programme, it is AIBA’s ambition to take the model and adapt it to suit further territories, as AIBA continues its work to build the sport of boxing and the opportunities it brings to people all around the world.

Mme Pretty Tsotetsi, Zone 4 and SANABO Secretary General, Mr Jean-Jerome Perrin-Mortier, AIBA Year of Africa Head of Project, Mr Andile Mofu, President of the Boxing Federation of South Africa, Councilor Xolani Witbooi Manager of Buffalo City Metro Municipality ( Sport department), and Mr Touma Muhamad, AFBC EC Member