Posts filed under ‘Boxing’

Heavyweight Clash Expected in Boxing World

Forget Pacquiao v Mayweather a bout of equally large proportions is on the verge of taking place. A battle between the professional boxing ranks and the amateur ranks has been simmering for two years, but they look to be coming to a head.

In the last week the WBC launched what it called “a quest to unmask the imminent threats which AIBA´s actions pose to the detriment of boxing, and that task is ongoing.”

Former President of the WBC Jose Sulaiman, tried to find amicable solution prior to his passing away. He publicly challenged  the IOC, and made the WBC’s position clear to national federations and the boxing community as a whole. HIs son who took over as President Mauricio Sulaiman has continued the struggle and has vowed to keep fight until as the WBC state “we free amateur boxing from the monopolistic actions, restriction of trade and abuse of power that AIBA actively seeks.”

The European Boxing Union (EBU) has joined the fight, and along with the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO are participating in workshops with the National Sports Ministry of Spain. Those sessions will result in the establishment of a National governing entity to oversee professional boxing. This was to counter  what they call “subterfuge and manipulation of the governing law in Spain,” whereby the Spanish Boxing Federation (FEB) were alleged to be trying to implement to place boxing there at the mercy and under the sole control of AIBA. The FEB’s activities are supposed to be limited solely to amateur boxing, which is controlled by AIBA.

In recent times AIBA has eliminated the word “Amateur” from their name, so amateur boxing, as we all knew it, doesn’t exist. They now appear to be looking to become the quasi head of world boxing “amateur” and professional.

According to the WBC “AIBA has changed its role in the sport of boxing. While receiving the sole and exclusive authority from the IOC to handle Olympic boxing competitions, AIBA has abused that authority and has put a plan in place to sign exclusivity contracts with fighters. Those contracts are in fact commercial instruments geared to stage professional competitions while attempting to maintain the contractually bound boxers’ eligibility to participate in the Olympic Games. Only those boxers who participate in a commercial contract with AIBA are eligible to compete in the Olympic Games!”

Countries who do not comply have been threatened with expulsion from World Championships and also the Olympic Games.

The four united professional boxing bodies have stated that they believe AIBA should return to its original modus operandi which is to oversee the good practices of “amateur” boxing in the world. They believe AIBA should limit its activities to: “(1) work with National amateur entities; (2) organizing Olympic competition; and (3) dedicating its efforts to make such competitions as honorable as they were in the past.”

Ask any successful World Champion where he learned his craft and he will tell you it was in the amateur ranks. Boxing is a skill that takes time to learn. As much as it is about punching your opponent it is equally about not being hit. The amateur ranks are where you learn this craft. The state of the Professional game in recent years is a direct result of young boxers being pushed into the professional ranks before they are ready. Sure the Professional bodies are protecting their interests as they do not want AIBA moving in on their turf, but at the same time they need a strong amateur side of the sport in order to ensure when fighters turn professional they have the tools to be a box office drawcard.

The sport needs a strong amateur body and it needs that body to focus on that key component and not trying to diversify.

February 11, 2015 at 1:52 am Leave a comment

Backed into A Corner

Imagine training for an eleven a side game of football and when you turn up to the national championships you are told the tournament will be five-a-side, or in rugby 15-a-side and it will be played in the Sevens format. It would throw your preparations into turmoil. Well spare a thought for India’s top amateur boxers.

At the National Games boxing championships the organisers did not have the computer software to implement the new scoring system introduced for amateur boxing, so they have opted to score by the old method.

Teams who protested against such a move were apparently threatened with disqualification. Realising they had no option but to go along with the decision to revert to the old rules, some teams requested that head guards be used, if the old rules are to be implemented, but their request fell on deaf ears.

Under the old rules boxers were rewarded with a point for every punch that connected cleanly with their opponent. Under the new rules it is far more subjective with boxers rewarded for overall ring craft as well as the number of clean blows needed and aggression. A format that requires a very different style of training and boxing in the ring.

With 27 teams participating including 127 men and 55 women, it is expected that there will definitely be some surprise results in the tournament, which will be disheartening for many who have trained so hard to win a National title.

February 8, 2015 at 1:56 am Leave a comment

MMA Headed For the Olympics?

For all sports that are currently not a part of the Olympic Games becoming an Olympic sport is the ultimate goal, as not only does it frequently come with additional government funding, but it also gives the sport added kudos and additional media exposure.

Judo was first introduced to the Olympic Games in not surprisingly Tokyo in 1964. It was not part of the games in 1968 but has been a part of every Games since then. Taekwondo was a demonstration sport at the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games in Seoul and Barcelona before becoming an Olympic sport officially in Sydney in 2000. It has been a part of every games since. Karate has submitted a case to be a part of the Olympic Games but as yet has been unable to win over the International Olympic Committee.

In many countries all of these martial arts and others are self governed, but with the increase in popularity of the Cage fighting where many different martial arts are combined there have been moves to bring them all under one umbrella, as a Mixed Martial Arts association. One can expect one almighty struggle similar to that usually seen on the mat by some bodies if they are to hand control over to one overarching group.

However the carrot may well be that Mixed Martial Arts believe that their popularity through the cage fighting should see them become a part of the Olympic Games. Will Karate forgo its individual bid to become a part of MMA’s push?

Densign White who was the Chairman of British Judo and is himself a seventh dan, is now the head of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation and he has openly declared it is his intent to see Cage fighting as part of the Olympic Games. He has said that he even wants boxing to come under the Mixed Martial arts banner; the chances of this are extremely unlikely.

“The growth of MMA globally has been extraordinary, particularly as an amateur sport, and my job will be to raise the game in terms of governance, coaching and doping control.” White is quoted as saying. “I am convinced that we will eventually see it in the Olympic Programme.” Of course the first thing he will have to do is raise the number of female participants as the IOC want all Olympic sports to be open to both sexes. Female boxing having debuted at the London Games in 2012.

With sports such as Squash, Softball, Baseball, surfing and roller sports mounting legitimate claims to be included in the Olympic Games, one feels MMA may have a fair wait on its hands, but then again money talks.

Other sports putting their hand up for inclusion include darts, chess, pole dancing, cheerleading and believe it or not video gaming.

Which would you like to see at the games most? Let us know.

 

January 13, 2015 at 7:53 am Leave a comment

Following Boxers’ Lead For Peace

Once again we have witnessed overnight scenes which defy belief. Scenes which confirm that all reason seems to have gone in the world. No longer will people debate issues, no longer will people disagree and yet still respect others. It is the era of the bully, the extreme bully where if you fail to do what someone says, or do something they don’t like you risk losing your life.

It is amazing how often sport can act as a metaphor for life, or we can learn lessons from our sporting heroes; that is why, whether they like it or not they are important role models.

Violence and war have rarely solved anything. Muhammad Ali’s protest against the Vietnam War in 1967 was bold and brave at the time, and many failed to register what it was he was standing up for, only the passing of time has allowed us to reflect on how he, and his religious and ethnic beliefs could not in all consciousness allow him to go to Vietnam, and still today this decision polarizes opinion. Many thought Ali’s beliefs were just a way of dodging the draft, but he has stuck by those beliefs for close on 50 years.

When the September 11 attacks happened sport and its stars were the last thing on people’s minds yet on September 20th despite suffering Parkinson’s disease Muhammad Ali made a special trip to New York and went to the World Trade Centre site. It was here he explained what the attacks meant to a devout Muslim.

“What’s really hurting me, the name Islam is involved, and Muslim is involved and causing trouble and starting hate and violence. … Islam is not a killer religion. … Islam means peace, I couldn’t just sit home and watch people label Muslims as the reason for this problem.” He said.

That quote is the one that is most used however few people ever mention his next comment, which is a shame because, who knows, it could well have had an impact on some. He said “Religions all have different names, but they all contain the same truths. I think the people of our religion should be tolerant and understand people believe different things.”

Another Boxer has followed Muhammad Ali’s lead denouncing the recent acts in Pakistan and how these extremists are defiling his faith, Britain’s Amir Khan.

Khan was actually in Pakistan, the birthplace of his parents when he spoke out in the British press of his revulsion at the massacre of 132 school children and teachers in Peshawar. To make such comments while still in the country placed his on life at risk.

“I cannot believe how sick in the mind some people are. It has to stop. Some People don’t want to talk about the Taliban or other extremist groups but I’m open. I want to speak the truth.” he told the Independent on Sunday. “I hope by coming here it will send a statement that not all Muslims are terrorists, that we despise what is happening in the name of our religion and that things like this just set the country way back. I wish to express my full support for the people of Pakistan. I’m here to help rebuild the school and to stand with the Pakistani nation. I’ve come to prove that Pakistan is a safe country for sports. I also want to give the message that sports and education will take us forward.” He added.

Khan had already donated his 24 carat gold thread shorts that he wore when defeating US Welterweight Devon Alexander in Las Vegas to the rebuilding project, shorts worth USD$30,000.

Not surprisingly former Test Cricketer Imran Khan, now a politician in Pakistan also came out and condemned the attack.

Sadly very few other high profile Muslim sports stars have stepped forward; although with anti-Muslim media campaign’s rife around the world who can blame them, but as Amir Khan said to the Independent on Sunday ‘it could make a difference.’

With the Asia Cup about to kick off in Australia, and many of those nations participating coming from Muslim nations let us hope that fans who attend these games do so purely for the sporting context. It may also be a good opportunity if any of the media outlets are willing to go out on a limb, to use these teams to educate people as to some of the Muslim beliefs. Sport is a very powerful tool, and it can be used to do so much good, by delivering a healthy body as well as a healthy mind.

Finally it is worth noting that the true Muslim advocates peace. In the Qur’an the Prophet Muhammed says “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you,” and the greeting used by most Muslims “Salaamu Alaykum” has the literal meaning “Peace be upon you”

Funny how in one of the most brutal of sports it has been two Musilms, in Muhammad Ali and Amir Khan who have had the courage to stand up and speak for peace and condemn bloodshed. Hopefully more will feel the strength to join them and may we all support the call for peace and hope that we see an end to this needless loss of life.

January 8, 2015 at 10:47 am Leave a comment

Climbing Off The Canvas

They say leaders are born and not made, one thing that is clear in modern day sport is they are certainly not created via tertiary education.

It would appear that the World Boxing Council has a leader at the head of it who wants to restore the noble art to former glories, and the moves he is advocating could well be just what boxing needs.

Mauricio Sulaiman was elected in 2014 to succeed his father who had been President for 39 years. His father had made some radical changes to the sport during his time at the helm, such as moving weigh-ins to 24 hours before a bout rather than the same day, also reducing the number of rounds from 15 to 12 in Championship fights, as well as the introduction of the thumb glove to prevent boxers receiving a thumb in the eye and causing permanent damage. He also started the World Medical Congress and funding for brain injury research programs.

He would no doubt be proud of the way his son has hit the ground running and some of the changes that are afoot.

The first will thrill fight fans. Having instigated meetings with the other Boxing Boards of control it has been agreed in principle that there should be a “Tournament of Champions” for each weight division. This would see the winners of the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF World Titles squaring off and the winner being the only one who can rightfully call himself a World Champion. At present all of the various bodies are working through the legalities of such a move, but it is one that is sure to please boxing fans.

Boxing has far too often been criticized for its judging of fights and there have been far too many controversies related to this issue. Sulaiman is advocating that in the future all officials are rated and if they do not come up to scratch then they pay the ultimate price, just as a fighter would if he made a mistake in the ring.

“There are things that can be done to prevent (bad officiating). Ring officials should be appointed to a specific fight in Championship fights, we call for neutral nationalities, to have officials from neutral countries not belonging to either boxer. That’s a natural way of being as fair as possible.” Sulaiman said. “Concentration is a key. If one has personal problems he’s not going to be able to concentrate. It is just a matter of being in close contact with your officials and having the possibility of working with the local boxing commissions to appoint the best officials to a given fight.”

Sulaiman also wants to prevent mismatched fights. The WBC have worked closely with Boxrec.com one of the sport’s only fight-record only websites. The aim of this is to protect the health of the fighters but also to ensure that fans are given action packed quality fights, rather than one-sided no-contest affairs.

The WBC will not sanction mismatches fights. All fighters are ranked at a certain level and from now on they will only agree to a fighter moving up to fight a boxer ranked one level above them or one level below them.

In addition to these positive changes the WBC has increased its monitoring of the illegal use of performance enhancing drugs, with year round random drug testing.

Mauricio Sulaiman has not even been at the helm a year, but already he is trying to improve the way the sport is perceived and run. It promises to be an interesting journey, but for fight fans its good news as the sport desperately needed to implement changes that restored respectability and credibility.

January 8, 2015 at 9:29 am Leave a comment

No Longer Buying British in the US.

When Joe Louis was World Heavyweight Champion the crowds stilled turned out to watch him beat fighters who were nicknamed “bum of the week.” Now however in order to get a fight it is all about bums on seats.

Floyd Mayweather told those who wanted to listen that there was no point him fighting Britain’s Amir Khan as no one had ever heard of the British fighter. Some would say that this was a stinging knock back for the boy from Bolton, but Mayweather for once may actually have a point.

The last time Amir Khan fought at the Las Vegas MGM Grand hotel when he defeated Devon Alexander the venue which has a capacity of 16,800 was only a quarter full.

Mayweather entered the Guinness Book of World Records last month at the WBC Convention where he received three awards. The first for being the best paid athlete collecting 105,000,000 dollars according to Forbes 2014 list.

The second was for the card he starred in along with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, gaining the most Pay Per View sells colleting 150, 000,000 USD as 2, 200,000 watched the event on September 14th, 2013. His third was for a similar feat in his fight against Oscar de la Hoya.

Many say this is not Mayweather running scared as he would be expected to win the bout, but simply there are bigger box office names ahead of Khan, such as Manny Pacquiao, with May 2nd being the date everyone believes the fight will happen.

It is in fact a sad reflection on British boxing that its top fighters are no longer draw cards in the USA. Heavyweight Tyson Fury is after tilt at Wladimir Klitchsko’s World title, but for the same reason as Amir Khan hoping for a crack at Mayweather, he is well doing the pecking order.

January 2, 2015 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Boxing Turns to Replays

There are many who do not like the introduction of video replays in sport, others are crying out for it. Those in favour want to see the right decisions made in the sporting event, those against often feel that the use of video replay ruins the moment a try or a goal is scored, or a wicket taken.

It was decided several months ago that the three most respected Boxing bodies the WBC, WBA and IBF would start to adopt instant replays to boxing.

The three agreed that instant replay would be used in world championship fights and any other affiliated championship of the WBC, WBA and IBF.

Each organization will use under their own discretion the procedure for the use of instant replay and at all times they will have to secure an agreement with the corresponding local boxing commission where the fight takes place.

The WBC shared their current protocols which have been in action for 8 years in some areas where their fights are broadcast.

In these protocols it clearly states that “Instant replay is limited to review (a) whether a cut or other injury to the face is the result of a punch or otherwise; or (b) whether a punch is thrown after the bell signaling the end of a round and (c) in any major situation that can change the outcome of the bout and where the replay clearly shows the actions are contradictory to the live ruling of the referee.

The referee may call “time out” during the bout and consult with the instant replay panel, if in doubt, as to any scenario, however it is recommended that all reviews are done during the resting minute period.

The instant replay panel will review any controversial instance that may have occurred in any round. A determination of the referee may be overruled solely if the instant replay monitor clearly and conclusively reveals, according to each member of the panel, that the ruling of the action by the referee was mistaken in his original determination.”

They also state that the “referee may request to verify the action by watching the TV monitor or may choose to accept the panel’s recommendation, which is the final decision and the ruling that will be enforced.”

No doubt some will not be happy with this decision but there will be equally as many who will be in favour of it. Sadly for the likes of Ken Buchanan who lost his title to a then up-and-coming Roberto Duran after receiving a low blow that was deemed legitimate, this ruling comes a little too late.

November 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm Leave a comment

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