Jennifer Huggins is one of the AIBA Ambassadors associated with Astana 2016 Women’s Boxing Championships, from the technical officials working at the ninth version of Women’s Boxing World Championships. An Olympic Referee, with a repute of being associated with Women’s Boxing for a while, she’s also working for a philanthropic cause “Fight to end Cancer” as the founder and Executive Director. Also, is she the Owner of Kingsway Boxing Club of Toronto, Canada wherein she supports the boxers as the Head Coach too. She spoke with us about variety of aspects related to Women’s Boxing.
Olympic qualifier event, how difficult does this fact make it for the ambassadors and the officials?
With a total of 12 quota positions available for the 3 Olympic weight categories, the 2016 Women’s World Championships will feature the top athletes of the sport. There is an incredible amount of pressure on the boxers to perform their best and ultimately secure their position in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. As officials we recognize these pressures felt by the boxers and place equal importance on ensuring we give our best to these athletes.
Role of an Ambassador…
Though I have been appointed as an ambassador for women’s boxing, my responsibilities as an official at the World Championships remain the priority. With two scheduled sessions each day, my focus and attention is on the boxing. The responsibilities as ambassadors work inline with the roles of the officials and athletes, with very limited resources required of us.
Promoting the sport of boxing has always been very important to me and the other ambassadors. The opportunity to do this with international reach has been inspiring for all of us.
With Boxing and Figure Skating been your two favorite sports, which of the two have you related the most?
I was a competitive figure skater for half of my life, however it was boxing that gave me the confidence I always lacked – the tactics I needed to figure out my competition – and the technical skills that secured the consistency to execute. Boxing relates to everything, I have found that it has helped me in all walks of life.
Key attractions of the event among the boxers participating…
As an official, I truly have no favorites.
The World Championships has brought together the highest level of boxers.
We are all simply honored to be a part of the qualification process for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Greatest memories associated with the sport…
Though I have been involved with the sport for many years, it is the experiences associated with this past year that have been most memorable for me. Being and Olympic year, each tournament has served as a qualifier for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The energy brought to the ring by the athletes, their coaches and supporters is exhilarating – nothing compares.
Expectations from the ninth version of Women’s Championships…
After the addition of 3 women’s weight categories in 2012 at the London Olympic Games, we have seen an increase to the number of women involved in boxing at all levels. With the increase in female competitors around the world, the caliber we are seeing at the elite level and ultimately in the 2016 Rio Olympics, is truly revolutionary.
9 years into refereeing, what all things do you see when you look back at this career?
In just 9 years, there has been massive growth in boxing, especially concerning people’s perception of the sport. It has been a privilege to be a part of history in such a profound time for boxing.
Changes in rules and set up of bouts you have seen over the years with Canada as a base location…
With the inclusion of women’s boxing in the Olympic Games, Canada has been implementing many programs to develop opportunities for women in sport. This year, the Canadian team brought 8 boxers to the World Championships, this highlights the progress Canada is making in the development women boxing.
Infrastructure, support system, followings and facilities in Women Boxing and improvements over the years…
The Ambassador program that I have been given the opportunity to participate in, is a perfect example of the support being provided to women in boxing.
AIBA has made huge strides to support women, both at the local, and elite levels. After achieving their goal of incorporating 3 women’s weight categories in the Olympics only 4 years ago, President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu of AIBA is working hard to approve the inclusion of 2 more weight classes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. I am excited to see the heights that will be reached in Women’s Boxing over the next decade.