Box On – But is it Only Good in the Short Term?

November 29, 2013 at 11:17 am Leave a comment

As mentioned previously on this site next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow face the prospect of having two star attractions on the track not take part, Britain’s Mo Farah and Jamaica’s Usain Bolt.

At the start of this week they faced the distinct possibility that none of England’s top amateur boxers will be taking part.

The Amateur Boxing Association of England was provisionally suspended from taking part in competitions earlier in 2013 because of governance issues.

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) – Formerly the International Amateur Boxing Association – ruled that one of its statutes had been violated due to Sport England’s support for a new ABAE constitution. Their statute states that national federations should prevent external influences interfering in election and appointment processes. The suspension was lifted in September.

However the threat of a new ban surfaced when the ABAE was told that if voting at an extraordinary general meeting held last Sunday went against a new board structure and new rules. Sport England said it would withdraw GBP5m of funding.  In addition the AIBA made it quite clear that they would then take further disciplinary action.

Following the EGM the ABAE announced in a statement that funding was saved and a ban avoided “The acceptance of new articles and a new board removes the threat of sanctions by the international governing body, AIBA, and ensures that Sport England will continue to fund the grassroots of the sport.”

This is great news for the Commonwealth Games organisers as it means that Nicola Adams, who won Olympic gold last year, can now compete in Glasgow next year as women’s boxing makes its Commonwealth Games debut.

There were grave concerns heading into the meeting and it is believed that many accepted the new articles reluctantly. The regional associations feared that their power would be stripped away and claims were made that only GBP250,000 of the GBP5m  made its way down to the 900 boxing clubs. In the end though voting went with what was best for the country and the current crop of boxers. The question may well be at what cost to the sport?

It is interesting to note that AIBA backed Sport England in this bout and the ABAE were advised that they had to accept a “package of compliance” which includes no longer using head guards and other moves implemented by AIBA President CK Wu towards professionalism; which will ultimately see the word amateur cease to exist.

Many feel this is not going to be good for the sport as it is in the amateur ranks that a boxer learns his craft, and that time prepares him for a professional career. The time spent in the amateur ranks sees him learn how to protect himself and avoid getting hurt, to take the head guards away and make all fighters professional has many concerned as to the safety of the fighters.

The decision will however be music to the ears of AIBA President, Dr Ching-Kuo Wu as it keeps his plan to take over the running of the sport globally and cut the current professional bodies out, on track. Following the announcement he was quoted as saying  “On behalf of the entire AIBA Family, I am very pleased with the results of this vote.”

No surprises there.



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