By Ronnie Nathanielsz
The International Amateur Boxing Association and the International Olympic Committee have both responded to widespread criticism of the plan of AIBA president Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu and executive director Ho Kim to allow professional boxers to compete in the Olympic Games beginning 2016.
Regrettably due to an oversight we failed to see the response of AIBA’s PR and Communications Director Sebastien Gillot to our query regarding the AIBA’s response to the European Boxing Union’s stand against the plan to allow professional fighters to compete in the Olympic Games.
The AIBA stated “please take note that the only European Boxing Confederation recognized by AIBA is the EUBC, not the European Boxing Union. Generaly speaking on the participation of AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) boxers in the Rio 2016 Olymoiuc Games, following on the allegations of the World Boxing Council and its President Mr.Jose Sulaiman, the International Olympic Committee has made clear that AIBA is the only governing body of the sport of boxing that it recognizes worldwide.”
The AIBA PR and Communications Director added that “the qualification process for AIBA Open Boxing (AOB), World Series of Boxing (WSB) and AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) BOXERS FOR THE Rio Olympic Games will be discussed and agreed between the IOC and AIBA early in 2014.”
The AIBA position was ratified by the IOC in response to a query we sent to President Jacques Rogge in the face of growing criticism from several international boxing organizations, the latest being the World Boxing Association in which secretary general Gilberto Mendoza said he “fully agrees with the WBC on AIBA interference with professional boxing” and added that the WBA will support any action to protect the sport.”
In a statement sent to The Standard, the IOC Media Relations Team said “As far as the IOC is concerned, AIBA is fully independent as outlined in the Olympic Charter. But they will have to present their new eligibility conditions prior to Rio 2016, just as they did prior to London 2012 with regard to the participation of WSB boxers.”
Despite WBC president Sulaiman’s insistence that the IOC did not respond to his letter to president Rogge, the IOC claimed they “responded to the WBC on 12 April and we have no further comment on the matter.”