Many boxing fans have been watching the stance being taken by President of the International Amateur Boxing Association, (AIBA) Dr C.K. Wu, and his push to control boxing amateur and professional. However it would appear that support is waning after his own national body released a statement saying that they do not support his regime.
In a carefully worded statement they praised Mr Wu for his work in the past with their body and went on to say, “Amateur boxing must continue to be the routes of boxing giving boxers from all over the world the opportunity to conquer the dream of winning Olympic medals and professional boxing must continue as it has been for 300 years with opportunities for boxers of any country to try to conquer the dream of winning world championships.” There are few who would argue with that.
In fact many former World Champions will back up the statement and tell you that it was their time in the amateur ranks where they learned their craft that enabled them to become World Champions. One of the reasons boxing standards have dropped in the past 10-15 years is because too many boxers have been fast tracked into the professional ranks without learning their trade properly.
Not only is Dr Wu’s own national body against what he is trying to achieve, but also the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation, who in a statement of their own last week stated three reasons for their opposition:
“1.- Olympic Games boxing has an independent and special role for boxing in general. This is especially so in developing countries, where there is little or no professional boxing. Here, amateur boxing makes great contributions to the spread of boxing worldwide.
2.- Olympic Games boxing is the biggest and final aim of many boxers from all over the world. Almost all professional boxers, managers, promoters and boxing commissions respect the principles on amateurism and consider that Olympic boxing is sacred and an inviolable stage for amateur boxers.
3.- If AIBA declares and continues its new activities in professional boxing, or operates as a new professional boxing organization, this means it has renounced its principles of amateurism and thrown away an independent and special role for boxing in general.”
The last point is the most damning, and AIBA needs to take a long hard look at what its charter is, as it is moving away from its basic role. If those currently running AIBA wish to take boxing down this path do so on your own, do not drag the name of AIBA down, that in itself is selfish and irresponsible. Saying that the members of AIBA are allowing them to do so. It is time for the members of AIBA to stand up for what amateur boxing achieves and stands for, and protect that legacy before it is destroyed by a few. It would be terrible to see hundreds of years of good work thrown away because of the self-promoting wishes of a few. Korea and the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation have started the ball rolling, hopefully they will receive a wave of support from other such entities.
Let us all hope for the good of the sport that more national bodies voice their support and their opposition to the path down which AIBA is headed. The current course that AIBA is on will not only harm the amateur side of the sport, but the sport as a whole as boxers will move from junior ranks into a professional arena many will simply be ill-equipped for, in or out of the ring.