(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) - Ten-time world champion and 1992 Olympic gold medalist Oscar De La Hoya will serve as the official spokesperson for USA Boxing's youth initiative and development program, Gloves Not Guns. De La Hoya will assist in promoting this important community initiative, which gives kids a free introduction to boxing as an athletic way to improve their lives and fill their time with a positive activity.
The program debuted at the AIBA World Championships in Chicago in 2007 in partnership with World Sport Chicago and the United States Olympic Committee with funding from an Olympic Opportunity Grant. Gloves Not Guns includes a launch clinic with boxing facilities and instruction made available without charge for all attendees. Athletes graduate through various levels of the program, including shadow-boxing, bag drills, pad combinations and jump rope instruction. Upon completion of the six-week program, graduates receive a free one-year membership to USA Boxing.
The Gloves Not Guns program will take place in six target markets in 2009, including Los Angeles, Denver, Washington DC, Miami, Illinois and Connecticut. The National Police Athletic League is a partner in the program, which also benefits from an Urban Development grant from the United States Olympic Committee.
The 1992 Olympic gold medalist in the lightweight division, De La Hoya enjoyed an outstanding amateur career, capped by his victory at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. The Golden Boy took up the sport of boxing at only six-years-old, following his father and grandfather into the ring. He built an incredible 223-5 record during his thirteen years as an amateur, and went on to enjoy an extraordinary professional career, winning 10 world titles while competing against the best boxers of his generation.
"We are delighted that Oscar has agreed to support Gloves Not Guns," commented USA Boxing CEO Jim Millman. "He has been a wonderful role model for young people throughout his career and is a perfect example of the success that you can achieve with the right mix of character, talent and dedication."
"Juvenile delinquency continues to be a pervasive problem in America today," added De La Hoya. "I hope my involvement in this positive program will help young people realize that boxing offers wonderful opportunities for character development and self esteem, regardless of their talent level."
USA Boxing and Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions announced a strategic alliance in 2008, with the two organizations announcing plans to collaborate on numerous marketing, media, broadcast and consulting efforts.
As the official spokesperson for the Gloves Not Guns program, De La Hoya will be featured on program advertisements and will provide public relations and event support for the program, particularly in Los Angeles.
USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States' member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). It is responsible for the selection and management of the United States Olympic Boxing Team, and for the governance and oversight of USA Boxing's national organization of 38,000 members, 1,400 individual boxing clubs, and 1,600 sanctioned events annually.