Boxing in Olympic limbo after Paris
By Joaquin Henson
Fri, 27 Oct 2023
IOC has ruled out a working relationship with the discredited leadership of IBA, the long-standing international governing federation of boxing. In the Tokyo Olympics, IOC formed an interim body to oversee the operations of the sport and allay suspicions of corrupt officiating. IOC will continue to supervise boxing in Paris but beyond next year’s Games, it’s a murky future unless another federation claims widespread global recognition and support from credible leaders.
An attempt was made to organize a new federation called World Boxing last April with US and UK backing but so far, only 27 countries have joined the alliance, not enough to convince IOC of a popular representation. For the moment, boxing is on hold for the 2028 LA Olympic calendar. IBA’s Russian president Umar Kremlev has refused to step down despite pressure from IOC and is keeping member nations in his pocket with attractive purses for their boxers even if IBA tournaments are no longer sanctioned by IOC as Olympic qualifiers. If IBA persists in defying IOC, boxing will slowly lose its appeal and die a natural death. The recent Hangzhou Asian Games featured boxing as an Olympic qualifier because the Olympic Council of Asia, not IBA, was involved with IOC supervision. Unfortunately, the results were also not satisfactory, leading to more arguments against the retention of boxing as an Olympic sport.
Meanwhile, on the local front, ABAP chairman Ricky Vargas said the imperative is to rebuild the home stable. “We start not from ground zero like 12 years ago but build on the new stable we have,” he said. “We need to get bigger, too, as the weight classes have been redefined. We’re sad but still hopeful.”
ABAP secretary-general Marcus Manalo said the Asian Games team included two youngsters Aaron Bado, 20 and Mark Fajardo, 19, who lost to more experienced opponents. Their presence was an investment for the future. “Bado lost against the eventual silver medalist from Thailand who’s also a former world medalist,” he said. “Another boxer Marjon Pianar lost to the Uzbek world champion. John Marvin was a win away from a medal nut we didn’t expect much as he had to move up 12kg heavier in three months and he’s still adjusting with the new weight.”
Manalo said the three women who failed to win a single match were burned out. “Their bodies were breaking down during the last phase of preparation,” he said. “They barely sparred in our Australian camp due to injuries and illness. They had a full calendar this year which made periodization of training more difficult. They had a Bulgaria tournament in February, international camp in March, World Championships in March, SEA Games in May, three-week camp in India from July to August then a two-week camp in Australia. It took a toll on their bodies and we could have been smarted about it. From our reflections, we have come up with action plans which require changes in how we did things this year.”
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