Equality for Female Boxers in the Olympics

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AIBA Subsidiary WSB increases Men's weights from 5 to 10 yet Women still restricted to Three weights - Where is the Justice in that?
by Sue TL Fox
August 30, 2013
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(AUG 30) The International Boxing Association (AIBA) confirmed this week through its subsidiary World Series of Boxing (WSB) that there will now be 10 weights for Male boxers in the new W.S.B series which begins in Mexico City tonight and tomorrow and sees Cuba enter a team – the Cuba Domadores - fifty one years after Fidel Castro banned pro-boxing in Cuba in 1962.

Good news – if - you are a male boxer of course, since its comes after representations from teams throughout the WSB franchise who felt it was not enough to have ‘only’ five weights as had been the case from the onset of the WSB series. Spare a thought, AIBA President Wu, then for the women boxers who will still only have THREE weights in Rio 2016 thanks to the I.O.C’s decision NOT to allow any increase of athletes or medals and AIBA’s failure – so far anyway – to recommend a more equal division of the available 286 slots currently 36 for women and 250 for male boxers.

WBAN maintains that there IS still time to add additional weights for women in Rio without adding to the number of athletes or medals.

As I said in a recent Editorial: “WBAN looks at this discrepancy for female vs. male boxers in the Olympics as discriminatory.”

In its promotion of this year’s WSB tournament, the AIBA/WSB organisation spoke with Argentina Condors General Manager Hernan Salvo who explained just some of the problems he faced when ‘ONLY’ five weights.

WSB: “The move to 10 weight categories has been widely welcomed by boxers and boxing media outlets why do you think that is?

HS: Yes, there is lots of enthusiasm in boxing ranks because this change will potentially allow every boxer to take part in the WSB competition. Beforehand not every boxer could enter as the matches were limited to just five weight categories. The trouble was to be able to compete many athletes had to make huge weight adjustments. That was the case for Brian Castaño, our boxer who normally competes at Welterweight (69kg) but in the WSB he needed to go up to 73kg to be able to compete [as boxers need to be close to the top of the weight group or they risk being out muscled].

Also the media will be more interested in covering the events now as more famous boxers will be competing in these additional weight categories. Hopefully, the WSB will now attract new audiences.”

WSB again: “Are there any boxers on your team who will specifically benefit from this change?

HS: Yes there are a few. Fabian Maidana and Alberto Palmetta are the first examples that spring to mind. Both boxers are in the Light Welterweight (64kg) category and could not compete in the WSB; they could not cut enough to make the old WSB 61kg category or gain the muscle to go up to 73kg. Nine kilograms (19.5lbs) is far too much to give away in a bout. Juan Carrasco has really had to suffer in his efforts to make 61kg. He has always been very committed and professional in his approach, but things will be easier for him from now on.”

So just two examples of how the AIBA through its subsidiary has gone out of the way to make things easier for the men to compete on a ‘level playing field’ and WBAN has no problem with that as long as women boxers also benefit from 10 weights.

The AIBA has also recently published its 2014 Official Calendar of major Championship events so worth having a look and see what increases in weights there are for women boxers to look forward to in 2014 in their quest for major titles.

Firstly the good news : in 2013 the AIBA has its AIBA Women's Junior/Youth World Boxing Championships from 20th to 29th in Albena, Bulgaria and a pleasant surprise to see that there are 10 weights here too. Well done, AIBA.

So what about 2014? Alas nothing but disappointment IF the AIBA Calendar of events is accurate.

AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships Youth Men – 10 weights and 3 Olympic Women weight categories April 6 - 20 Sofia, Bulgaria (why only 3 weights, Dr Wu in an AIBA championships event – one cannot blame the I.O.C for that!

Followed by

Commonwealth Games, Elite Men 10 weights, 3 Olympic Women weight categories July 23 - August 03 Glasgow, Scotland (though this is under AIBA rules in fairness they are not the organising body)

Followed by

Youth Olympic Games Youth Men 10 weights, 3 Olympic Women weight categories August 23 -27 Nanjing, China (again under AIBA rules but an International Olympic Committee (I.O.C) organised event.

Followed by

XVII Asian Games Elite Men 10 weights but only 3 Olympic Women weight categories September 19 - October 04 Incheon, Korea.

To complete 2014 there is also the AIBA Women's Elite World Championships in Canada in September or October where one assumes that there will be a full complement of weights though the Calendar does not show how many.

WBAN again stresses the need for more women’s weights in ALL competitions and complete Equality. I repeat here what WBAN said in its petition to the IOC and AIBA on the subject of Rio:

“To only have three weight classes for female boxers’ means that the females who do not fit into those categories will not be able to compete in the Olympics, which would very much be against the ideals of the Olympic Spirit and Movement?

In some cases young female athletes in their desperation to appear in the Olympics may seek to lose or put on significant weight which could prove extremely damaging to their health and welfare. The men's division allow 10 weight classes. WBAN looks at this discrepancy for female vs. male boxers in the Olympics as discriminatory”.

Now is the time for all lovers of the Noble Art to sign our Petition to the IOC and AIBA:

So WBAN once again calls for Equality for women boxers.

“Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done."

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