WBAN responds to recent AIBA
proposals on future of AIBA Women's Boxing.
by Sue Fox and
January 21, 2015
(JAN 21) WBAN is encouraged to
see that the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has
responded in a positive manner to our previous two part article
on the future of AIBA women’s boxing including possible future
extensions to APB or WSB tournaments.
Unlike other organisations competing with the AIBA for women’s
boxing – and boxers – WBAN’s only interest is to ensure that the
AIBA, like all of the Professional organisations should be
looking after the best interests of the boxers rather than just
their own funds.
Many would argue that in boxing in general there are too many
organisations offering ‘World title belts’ already, some of them
excellent, others questionable.
WBAN knows though that the AIBA has a special part to play in
the future of women’s boxing, whatever that future holds and it
is for that reason that WBAN will continue to watch the progress
made (or not made) by Dr Ching Kuo-Wu and his Executive
Director/ CEO, Ho Kim and how they proceed to take their
responsibilities through to the future. WBAN will highlight
their good deeds – and any not so good or bad ones, without fear
or favour and we feel sure they would want to be so judged by
their faithful followers.
The AIBA is the ONLY organisation recognised by the
International Olympic Committee (I.O.C) thus only those boxers
who qualify via AIBA designated tournaments worldwide can take
part in the Olympic Games, whether in Rio in 2016, Tokyo 2020 or
thereafter and this is not going to change in the foreseeable
future, if ever it will. WBAN and the Pro.organisations know
that the world of ‘women’s boxing’ has changed and will continue
to change in the coming years, hopefully for the better of all
concerned and not just the few.
It is the boxers who put their bodies on the line, it is the
boxers, supported by coaches and families who are the lifeblood
of the sport, now and always. There can be no place in any
organisation, nor will WBAN support anyone who puts themselves
ahead of the boxers neither can the sport progress if any
corrupt practices continue to be allowed by the licensing
authority be it “biased referees” chosen by promoters or alleged
poor quality of judging by officials some of whom have arguably
been inadequately trained and many of whom are perhaps from
countries where ‘women's boxing’ has been unknown until very
recently, some not even now.
Organisations – and we include AIBA in this, no more or no less
than any similar body, - who receive numerous complaints
regarding judging or scoring systems should not and cannot
simply ignore such claims. They need to be thoroughly
investigated, preferably by competent authorities not linked to
that organisation directly or indirectly. If it is the case that
in a major Championship event a boxer clearly wins a bout but is
judged to have lost in dubious circumstances then that title or
medal should be withheld until an appeal is heard and a final
decision agreed by the parties concerned including the boxer or
their coach or professional body.
One idea we would strongly encourage the AIBA to adopt is to
include current (female) Amateur champions and coaches (at least
one of each) on their Executive Council for no one can surely
believe or accept that anyone but ‘current’ boxers/coaches can
truly represent their views? There is a ‘wealth of talent’ to
choose from all confederations of the AIBA but no more males
please – too many already in the AIBA, one might argue despite
some additions to the Women’s Commission. How much TRUE
authority do they REALLY have?
It has to be said that the AIBA has done much good work over the
years to prevent corrupt practices, especially during the reign
of Dr Ching Kuo-Wu but we feel sure that he and CEO Ho Kim will
have been disappointed at the negative publicity which came from
the Asian Games especially that bout between the representatives
of India and Korea. Anyone who saw that bout, live or via TV or
online, can but surely agree that an injustice was done to the
Indian boxer, and by simply sanctioning the boxer and coaches it
has appeared to many observers that the AIBA has chosen simply
to turn a ‘blind eye’ to the performance of the judges or if not
the judges then the scoring system in place. WBAN does NOT and
NEVER would condone some of the scenes that followed that bout
and understands why some action was necessary.
Lessons need to be learn from that debacle and we hope they will
indeed we will continue to watch – and comment upon – any such
injustices be they in Professional or Olympic AOB style boxing.
The AIBA knows, from its male programs, that there will always
be some of its boxers, including some near if not at the top,
who will continue to turn Pro for a variety of reasons. Equally
some of the world’s finest women boxers are to be found in AIBA
ranks and they too need to be looked after rather than having to
look after themselves.
Boxers like (but not exclusively) Nicola Adams, Katie Taylor and
Claressa Shields have brought great credit to the sport and need
to be ‘properly’ looked after – it may well be that some AIBA
organisations provide limited funding and limited promotional
opportunities but others do not and some do not benefit as much
has others for reasons such as what their own families or agents
can arrange. Who knows who will win Gold in Rio and if, for
example, Claressa Shields takes Gold again will her funding from
USA boxing leave her with enough money to live on when her
boxing career is ended? Arguably not.
That said the AIBA and the IABA should recognise a ‘national
legend’ when they have one in their midst for it is ‘no given’
that she will remain in the ‘amateur’ ranks throughout her
career albeit that may be how it looks just now. As she said
herself recently: “I was offered a few contracts from the pro
game. but my heart was never in the pro game from the start...
for me in the end, representing my country in the Olympic Games
, nothing outweighs that.”
“It’s not hard to motivate myself. I love my sport and boxing is
my passion.. It’s a privilege to be representing my country
whether it’s in the European championships or the World
championships or the Olympics”.
Peter joked that he suggested Katie might retire after the last
Olympics because he was thinking about his own health.
But whatever Katie decided we were going to be behind her 100pc.
“Katie decided to stay amateur and look towards Rio.”
He added: “To stay on top of any sport for ten years, like Katie
has, she’s left a huge legacy.” It’s been unbelievable the
journey she’s had.”
WBAN is however disappointed that in their detailed yet very
helpful response to our previous articles the AIBA have chosen
NOT to comment at all on the ‘safety issues’ nor what medical
evidence they hold that proves that boxing without headguards is
safer than with them and that apart if that is indeed the case
why women are having to wait a longer period. Surely if safety
IS assured (and many doubt that such evidence exists as yet)
then by extension they are jeopardising women boxers again as in
the case of only 3 weights again for Rio 2016 as for London 2012
i.e.: lots of women gaining or losing too much weight just to be
able to take part.
We would welcome YOUR views dear readers and of course if the
AIBA should wish to further clarify any points raised here and
which were accidentally omitted from their previous one then we
will be delighted to give them equal prominence. Respond by
email to email@example.com or via our Facebook/Twitter social
media accounts, as before.
In conclusion we will continue to encourage the AIBA, perhaps
even more so if they can make good their promises and ensure
that the women's sport achieves true equality with the men.
After all Dr Wu would surely wish to see his term of office end
with his having achieved all he has set out to do rather than
the limited progress made to date. Three weights again for Rio
2016 really is nothing more than an insult, to our gallant
warriors, whether the blame lies with the I.O.C or with the AIBA.
Or are we saying that boxing remains very much a ‘man’s sport’
and women should be grateful for whatever crumbs they are
offered? This is 2015 – surely not back to the really Dark Ages?