Blow for Irish boxers as IABA pull out of the World championships
The Irish Athletic Boxing Association has voted not to send teams to the men’s and women’s World championships this year.
The decision means current World champions Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke will not be able to defend their titles in India next month.
At a joint meeting of the IABA’s Board of Directors and Central Council in Dublin last night it is understood council members voted 15-5 to boycott the championships in protest against alleged corruption in the International Boxing Association.
The decision together with a detailed explanation is expected to be announced later today.
It is understood the Government and Sport Ireland had urged the IABA not to participate in the wake of the IBA’s controversial decision to allow boxers from Russia and Belarus to compete under their own flag at the championships.
The United States has already announced a boycott and it is expected that other European Union countries will not be sending teams either.
This signals the start of another phase of the ongoing power struggle at world level in amateur boxing.
The women’s World championships were scheduled to take place in New Delhi next month while the men’s blue riband event was pencilled in for Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan in May.
There was already a question-mark over whether the IABA would send a men’s team because the European Olympic qualifier tournament is scheduled to start on June 21 in Krakow, Poland.
Gold medallists at the men’s championships will receive $200,000 in prize money but the women’s gold medallists will only receive half that figure.
From a boxing perspective the decision is devastating blow to Ireland’s female fighters.
It means that current World champions Broadhurst and O’Rourke, together with former World champion and current Olympic champion Kellie Harrington, will miss out on an opportunity to win more medals and prize money in India next month.
There is likely to be some push-back against the decision from boxing clubs who are the shareholders in the IABA. There was an expectation they would be consulted before the IABA made the decision.
There is concern about the long-term implications as Irish underage boxers are now likely to miss out on competing in European and World championship events at least in the short term.
Elite boxers will also miss out on continental and World championships whereas only a handful of boxers will ever compete in the Olympics.
Ireland is a member of an ad-hoc group called the Common Cause Alliance which has campaigned for a radical overhaul of the International Boxing Association which is currently led by controversial Russian native Umar Kremlev.
Other members include the United States, the majority of EU countries, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and the Philippines.
It is understood the Common Cause Alliance Group has not taken a collective decision to boycott the World championships. Each country will have to make up its own mind.
The medium-term hope is that the Common Cause Alliance Group will set up an alternative governing body for boxing which will be recognised – and possible funded initially by the International Olympic Committee.
The new organisation would then organise world and continental championships for elite and underage boxers.
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