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WBC appeals to keep Olympic boxing


PhilBoxing.com




A petition was proposed to be signed by over 500 delegates from at least 17 countries for the IOC to retain Olympic boxing during the WBC Women’s Convention and Asian Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) last weekend.

WBC female championships committee chairman Malte Muller-Michaelis of Germany said boxing is under threat of expulsion from the Olympics because of alleged irregularities involving AIBA, the sport’s international governing federation. But Muller-Michaelis said striking out boxing from the calendar would be prejudicial to the future of fighters who depend on the Olympics to open doors for a pro career.

Muller-Michaelis said women’s boxing made its Olympic debut in 2012 and two gold medalists, Katie Taylor of Ireland and Claressa Shields of the US, have gone on to become celebrated pros. He also said pros should be barred from participating in the Olympics and called it “insane” to declare open competitions at the expense of the tradition of amateurism.

“We plan to file a petition appealing to the IOC to retain Olympic boxing,” he said. “In my personal view, I think pros should not be allowed to compete in Olympic boxing. For decades, we’ve seen amateurs transition to the pros through the Olympics. Muhammad Ali, for instance, wouldn’t have been what he was if he didn’t go to the Olympics where as Cassius Clay, he won a gold medal in Rome in 1960. It’s not right for 18-year-old amateurs to fight 35-year-old pros.”

Previous AIBA president Dr. Wu Ching Kuo welcomed pros to the Olympics with the goal of controlling the sport from amateurs to pros. At the 2016 Rio Games, three male pros saw action but none landed a podium finish----Cameroon’s Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, 32, in the 81 kilogram division and Thailand’s Amnat Ruenroeng, 36, and Italy’s Carmine Tommasone, 32, in the 60 kilogram class. Dr. Wu also initiated the AIBA Pro Boxing Championships, removed headgears and singlets to make AIBA fighters look like pros and instituted the 10-point must scoring system.

Muller-Michaelis said several issues on women’s boxing were tackled at the convention. “Strict compliance with anti-doping measures was taken up,” he said. “We also went over some of the WBC rules in women's boxing like the open scoring system. In men’s boxing, scores are announced after the fourth and eighth rounds in 12-round championship fights. In women’s boxing, title fights are only up to 10 rounds so scores are announced after the fourth and seventh rounds. We’ll retain two-minute rounds and we’ll keep the limit of 10 rounds for championship bouts.” He noted that the WBC has so far sanctioned some 60 title fights for women this year.

An innovation that Muller-Michaelis disclosed was the proposed use of noise-cancelling headphones for judges. “This is still under discussion,” he said. “It’s an innovation that the WBC is considering to implement so judges aren’t influenced by the roar of the crowd.”

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman’s wife and WBC Cares chairperson of Mexico Christiane Manzur flew in to attend the convention and during the press conference last Friday, displayed the new pink championship belt for women’s boxing. She explained that pink was chosen for breast cancer awareness. Manzur headed the WBC Cares delegation in a visit to the Tuloy Sa Don Bosco Streetchildren Village in Alabang yesterday afternoon. She was accompanied by WBC women’s champions and fighters and officials from the WBC, WBC Cares and GAB in distributing P100,000 worth of groceries and toiletries, footballs and sports equipment to the street children.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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