WBC blasts AIBA over safety, Olympics and moves that could ‘kill amateur boxing’

WBC 09/10/2014

Boxing provides equal opportunities to participants from all countries of the world. That principle holds for amateur boxers seeking medals in Olympic competition as well as for professionals trying to conquer world championships.

Boxing belongs to the humble and disenfranchised people of the world; those with little or no opportunities who find in a boxing gym a helping hand to become somebody in life. A person who becomes a boxer ultimately has 2 dreams: to win a medal in the Olympic games for their country, and to win a world championship in professional boxing for their family.

For many years the process that governed amateur boxing worked well. Boxers would go through a rite of passage in their quest to qualify for an Olympic team. Then, they would turn professional athletes and seek the rewards that comes with that status. Exceptional athletes like the great Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard and the last great medalist, Oscar De La Hoya, all experienced that cycle.

Historically, how did boxing become part of the Olympic Games ?

Boxing was one of the founding sports of the original Olympics and has remained one of the most popular ones. The International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) controls the Olympic Games. The IOC gives independent associations the exclusive authority to run the administration of each sport in the Olympic movement. The Amateur International Boxing Association (“AIBA”) runs boxing for the IOC.

What is happening in AIBA?

In 2006, AIBA elected Ching-Kuo Wu (an architect by trade and former Taiwanese basketball player) its President. In 2010, Mr. Wu orchestrated AIBA’s attempt to overhaul the sport of boxing. Historically, AIBA’s objective was to develop amateur boxing throughout the world. AIBA’s ultimate goal and mandate was to prepare athletes to participate in Olympic games and have a fair opportunity to compete for and garner medals.

Starting in 2010, AIBA’s goals turned dramatically, becoming a purely financial and commercial entity. AIBA introduced the world to its monopolistic program that resulted in the acceptance of professional boxers into the Olympic games. To achieve its new goals, AIBA began a commercially driven process to sign fighters to remunerated contract. Only those fighters who accept AIBA’s exclusive and restraining terms could qualify to participate in the Olympic Games to the exclusion of all others.

Among other negative effects of AIBA’s new commercial enterprise we count the removal of fighters’ protective headgear from participants in AIBA fights. There are widespread concerns among experts that AIBA’s disregard from safety will result in a marked increase in head injuries and perhaps deaths.

Today’s AIBA organizes professional boxing matches where only those fighters contractually bound to AIBA’s terms can participate.

Today’s AIBA has pronounced “Amateur” boxing dead. In fact, today’s AIBA eliminated the word “Amateur” from its literature, website and any other AIBA materials. So, in fact, AIBA has abandoned those countries and fighters that do not adhere to AIBA’s monopolistic and restraining recent policies.

By all appearances, today’s AIBA has the worldwide power of the IOC endorsing AIBA’s programs and actions. Without running boxing for the IOC and providing the prospect of fighters participating in the Olympic Games, AIBA’s existence vanishes.

What is the IOC doing to prevent AIBA’s nefarious plans? What will it take to call the IOC’s attention to AIBA’s harmful, monopolistic and restraining actions? Is the IOC part of AIBA’s ultimate plan?

The world of boxing must emphatically reject AIBA’s efforts to kill amateur boxing and to disrupt the free competition model in professional boxing. The World Boxing Council has lead the way in spreading AIBA’s sinister and ill-intended plans.

The World Boxing Association and the International Boxing Federation have publicly expressed their support to the WBC and have joined the fray. Countless National boxing federations also have expressed their concern and are willing to step up and tell the world how AIBA’s business plan will affect them. The same goes for numerous affected individuals and families.

The world of boxing is united behind a common cause: fighting AIBA’s reprehensible business plan. The WBC will continue its efforts to unmask AIBA and to bring its activities to the attention of the competent judicial venues and authorities.

The WBC, WBA, and IBF, as well as many federal commissions as well as city boxing commissions, boxing clubs, gyms, associations and members of the boxing industry from around the world will not let this great sport succumb to the vested commercial interests of just a few .