An invitation to AIBA President Dr.
Ching-Kuo Wu to outline his plans for the future of women's boxing
By Sue TL Fox and Michael O’Neill
March 25, 2015
(MAR 25) Today, 500 days
from Rio 2016, WBAN would like to offer an ‘open’ invitation to
AIBA President Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu to outline for us the AIBA’s
plans for women’s boxing in the period between now and 2020.
Over the past several years, WBAN has devoted extensive coverage
of AIBA tournaments, large and small, in the same way we have
covered the Pro.sport. Both ‘Amateurs’ and Pros’ alike share
common aims. Each has a significant role to play in the ‘boxing
of the future’ thus anything that can be done to assist must
surely be welcomed by all existing Professional bodies and by
WE do NOT believe that enough is being done at this time
particularly in the areas of ‘health and safety’ of the boxing
community and if it is then communication of such plans leave
much to be desired.
It is OUR firm belief, that Dr. Wu and his team, will take this
opportunity of using WBAN’s vast database of readers including
several hundred boxers and coaches to address some of the issues
raised with us over the past 12 months or so. We have praised
the AIBA whenever and wherever praise was due, equally without
fear or favour we have disagreed when we felt it necessary to
We may not always agree with our AIBA friends but we feel sure
they appreciate that it is good to ‘share views’ and we know
from our ‘mailbag’, inc emails and social media that many claim
not to be fully briefed on AIBA future plans, especially by
their own National Federations or even via AIBA’s own in house
AIBA News letters.
The feeling conveyed to us, seems to be that women’s boxing is
now ‘way down’ the list of AIBA priorities, certainly behind
AIBA ProBoxing, APB and WSB. Any analysis of the ‘boxing
coverage’ in media worldwide will rarely find mention of AIBA
women’s boxing apart from World championships and even the
organisations national federations seem reluctant to publicise
even in their own countries achievements of their women. Of
course there are some notable exceptions such as United States,
Canada, Ireland and Australia and from time to time England.
One of the points often raised by boxers, and not just, women is
that in their view the AIBA has ‘lost its way’ in the period
since London 2012 when the genial President Wu seemed convinced
that there would be at least five weights for women by Rio 2016
yet here we are in March 2015, with just 500 days to go to Rio
and still there are but three weights for women. To put it
mildly – ‘VERY disappointing’. Progress? Hardly.
We still fail to understand why Rio 2016 does not have at least
five weights. Many in the ‘amateur’ sport believe that can be
traced back to the time when the AIBA President was ‘otherwise
engaged’ in his quest to become successor to then I.O.C
President, Dr.Jacques Rogge and that with their ‘Chief’
travelling round the AIBA family to seek support, his back up
team ‘lost their way’ in fighting the cause for women's boxing.
Could that be true?
We look forward to Dr. Wu’s assurances that AIBA women’s boxing
will now take its rightful place in their list of ‘priorities’
between now and 2020 indeed beyond but 2020 would be a good time
to review ‘progress’ again.
After all anything less than five or six weights in Tokyo 2020
would seriously damage the legacy of Dr.Wu who has done so much
good during his terms of office particularly on ‘doping’ and
‘corruption’. Before he ‘passes on the baton’ to his successor
surely he cannot want to leave the Presidency knowing that his
‘promises’ from London 2012 on the women’s sport remain
Remember what you said after the women’s finals in London, Dr.Wu?
"It was a very proud moment for me to see women's boxing at the
Olympics," Wu told ‘Inside the Games’ with genuine warmth in his
"They surprised everyone with their talent and the spectators
were fully behind them which was one of the most pleasing things
for me, even though that it what I predicted would happen."
A ‘same day interview’ with BBC in UK again brought further
praise for the women from Dr.Wu:
He said of the women's weight divisions: "Three is certainly not
"We have 10 categories for men, so why only three for women?"
And he added: "It is because of the International Olympic
Committee's quota. They have a limit of 10,600 athletes in
total, and just 286 boxers.
"So we reduced the men's categories by one to make room for 36
women. It is a step in the right direction.
"AIBA is trying its best. Talk to the IOC!"
Well as a member himself of the I.O.C Executive he has had much
time since London 2012 to ‘talk’ to the I.O.C but seemingly with
no good outcome for women boxers. Can it be that the REAL
opposition to women’s weights in Rio being increased has NOT
come from the I.O.C but within his own AIBA ranks?
There remains on overwhelmingly male representation in the most
powerful committees of the AIBA and in our humble opinion it is
more than likely that it is a major contributory factor for some
countries women are not seen as equals.
That must be another worry for both IOC and AIBA bearing in mind
that “equality” is one of the fundamental principles of the
Olympic Movement including the Olympic Charter. Is the ‘women’s
commission’ little more than a talking shop one asks? What REAL
authority do they have on the subject of the future of women’s
boxing? How many women members are there of the FULL AIBA
London 2012 was a huge success for the vast majority of sports
as Director of The Association of Summer Olympic International
Federations (ASOIF) director Andrew Ryan, the man primarily
responsible for distributing the profits to the 26 sports
federations involved in London 2012, confirmed to ‘Inside the
Games’ that they would be sharing a pot of over $450 million
(£280 million/€345 million)
When the London 2012 final accounts became known the figure, he
said, could even approach as much as $475 million (£296
million/€365 million), which marks a dramatic increase on the
$296 million (£184 million/€227 million) they received from
Taking everything into account, there were few bigger winners at
London 2012 than boxing. So perhaps Dr. Wu could tell us how
that money has been distributed within the sport and what
proportion has been ‘used’ to promote women’s boxing?
Has any money been spent directly by the AIBA or has it been
sent to their national associations and if the latter what does
the AIBA do to ensure that a fair proportion goes towards
increasing the profile for the women’s sport.
Many of our correspondents regularly say their voice is NOT
being heard even in their own country let alone within the AIBA.
If true, how very sad.
We expect some progress to be made in 2015/16 regarding
inclusion of women’s WSB bouts albeit perhaps only exhibition
bouts in year one and possibly for as few as two weights. Again
can Dr.Wu elaborate on that subject and perhaps explain why
women’s exhibition bouts at least could not have already taken
place in season V of the WSB series?
What better way to promote the women’s sport than by having top
world champion boxers like, Nicola Adams, Katie Taylor, Claressa
Shields and Mary Kom demonstrate their skills in front of
audiences in say China, Russia, Cuba, Kazakhstan and some of the
Gulf States? Again it seems that little, if any, thought has
been given to such promotional activities.
One MAY argue that women’s boxing is already strong in Russia
and China (as indeed is the case) but the feedback that we get
suggests that women are not receiving a fair deal even from
within their own associations or in Cuba whilst in some of the
Gulf States and even parts of India, women boxers are more or
less shunned by society as well as by sporting authorities.
Other areas that cause concern for readers include “headgear or
no headgear” for ALL women? If the latter why ANY difference
between males and females? If the AIBA has got convincing
medical evidence that justifies ‘ no headgear’ then why not
publish it for the benefit of all of the boxing community? If
that evidence is there does not the association owe it to its
members to make them fully aware of the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’?
WBAN accepts that opinions differ even within the boxing family
as to whether the sport is safe whether ‘with or without’
headgear. It is also the case of course that several medical
professionals strongly disagree on these subjects another reason
perhaps for the AIBA to take a lead and publish their evidence
for the benefit of one and all.
Many take issue with the original findings of Dr. Charles Butler
back in 2009 but the sport has moved on since then and AIBA now
says it has more detailed medical information – again the
question – why not publish it? Surely if the AIBA research and
evidence IS there, the wider world should be made aware of it
and join in praise for their efforts.? It would certainly help
re-assure boxers, their families and their coaches.
We understand that the Olympic Medical Commission (OMC) have
also been studying the continued use of safety headgear in the
Olympics. There many hundreds, perhaps thousands of coaches
within the U.S., Canada, Europe & other Continents not to
mention the Association of Ringside Physicians , The Brain
Injury Institute of America, the British Medical Association as
well as news organisations worldwide who keenly await the
Olympic Medical Commissions findings. It is ‘unthinkable’ that
the AIBA as the IOC’s National Governing Body for boxing is
unaware of these discussions and findings, another good reason
to publish same.
Has in fact the AIBA approved the removal of headgear, and has
the Olympic Boxing Committee approved this or is the decision
A comment made is “The AIBA opted to remove headgear in elite
men's bouts in 2014 based on medical statistics suggesting the
protective padding can cause more jarring to boxers' heads and
contribute to brain damage”. Many coaches in particular take
issue with AIBA regarding this decision and their use of
research, so would welcome guidance from the O.M.C and AIBA on
future plans. WBAN holds no particular corporate view on these
subjects thus we think that we are THE ideal publication for
Dr.Wu and through his good offices, if possible, the O.M.C to
make their views – and future plans – known.
There are of course ‘rumours’ that men will not have to wear
protective headgear in ANY competition from early 2016 and women
from ‘sometime’ thereafter. Is that so Dr. Wu and if yes why
should women have to wait a longer period?
Might not that not be putting female boxers at greater risk than
their male counterparts? We also ask specifically which category
of AIBA tournaments would that apply to? And which age group(s)?
World and Confederation titles only, National championships,
and/or the I.O.C-controlled Olympic Games and what about women
in WSB and hopefully eventually APB? IF indeed headgear for
women is to be removed will it be from a fixed date for ALL
women? Surely not even in local club tournaments organised by
their home associations?
Dr. Wu did speak back in November at the AIBA Congress in Jeju
prior to the women’s world championships. Reuters news agency
quoted him as saying
that the 2014 Commonwealth and Asian Games had shown the AIBA's
decision (re headgear removal) had been the right one.
"Commonwealth Games? No concussions. Asian Games? No
concussions," Wu told Reuters.
The decision was taken ‘based on extensive research by the
association's own medical commission’ as well as ‘six
independent organisations’, the Taiwanese official added.
"The conclusion was that concussions dropped to almost zero
without the headguard," said Wu, adding that the research
included data compiled from more than 30,000 bouts.
"People felt that wearing headgear makes everything safe, so why
were there more concussions?
"The problem was that it led to boxers not thinking to protect
their heads, so when they were defending they didn't care so
much about getting hit in the head.
"By removing headgear, it has changed the way boxers and coaches
prepare, it has changed tactics. Now you have to defend better,
use good techniques to protect your head."
Who were those ‘six independent organisations’ we wonder and
where can we find their conclusions? We would welcome receiving
a copy from AIBA.
So a lot of interesting, some provocative thoughts here but ones
which we are ‘quietly confident’ will allow the AIBA to put its
view at length – we place ‘no restriction’ re number of words or
length of any reply – but it goes without saying that we – and
more importantly – the boxing community especially AIBA members
will be ‘VERY disappointed’ if Dr. Wu and his communications
team choose to remain silent on these ‘burning issues’.
WBAN, like AIBA and Dr.Wu we feel sure, remain passionate about
improving the sport, especially safety of boxers, and that
surely is a ‘common cause’ that we can ALL agree on.
One final question Dr Wu. Can you assure ‘female warriors’ that
the subject of ‘skirts is not being re-considered’ yet again and
that it will remain the choice of individuals, without pressure
from their home association to either wear a skirt or shorts but
THEIR choice. Many suggest that even now in their home countries
often within former Eastern European states they are not being
given a ‘free choice’
Over to you Dr. Wu! We await your views with great interest and
more importantly so too do boxers and their families.