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Boxing at the Paris Olympics under fresh threat over judges and officials dispute

A strongly-worded email sent yesterday by the IBA to all technical officials, referees and judges, which was signed by its development director Chris Roberts, was subsequently published by the Inside the Games website.

Boxing in the Paris Olympics is under threat. Image: Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Sean McGoldrickIndependent.ie

A FRESH threat to boxing at the Paris Olympics next year has emerged.

The International Boxing Association (IBA) has warned referees, judges and technical officials that could face sanction if they volunteer at the Olympic qualifying tournaments, which begin in June in Poland.

Although the IBA move was anticipated it could leavem the International Olympic Committee (IOC) scrambling to find enough qualified officials to run the qualifying events as well as the tournament itself in Paris next year.

The IOC has already said that boxing could be axed from the Paris programme due to their ongoing conflict with the IBA and its Russian born-President Umar Kremlev. Boxing is not included in the programme for the Los Angeles Games.

A strongly-worded email sent yesterday by the IBA to all technical officials, referees and judges, which was signed by its development director Chris Roberts, was subsequently published by the Inside the Games website.

It is understood the email was prompted by an invitation sent by the IOC’s Boxing Unit to officials to voluntarily participate in its qualifying competitions as well as the Paris tournament itself.

It is regarded as a career-defining moment by officials to get an opportunity to officiate at the Olympic Games. The deadline for completed applications to be sent to the Boxing Unit is next Tuesday.

In the IBA email Mr Roberts points out that the Olympic tournaments are not approved by the IBA and under their rules participation in them is forbidden unless otherwise approved by the Board of Directors.

“In order to grant approval, the IOC, must, as a matter of courtesy, request assistance and support from IBA to approach any TO (technical official) in the first instance. Disappointingly, this has not happened to date.”

The email warns their officials that it would be in breach of the organisation’s disciplinary and ethic code if they accept the IOC invitations and would be subjected to sanction.

So far the IOC has not commented on the latest threat from the IBA but it’s certain to be discussed at the next executive board meeting which is scheduled at the end of the month.

Ironically, the IOC have a monitoring team in New Delhi at the moment attending the IBA women’s world championships but relations between the two organisations have essentially broken down.

The IBA now face being delisted by the IOC though the IOC still face a dilemma as to whether they can persuade enough judges, referees and technical officials to run the qualifying tournaments for the Games.

Officials from the two dozen countries aligned to the Common Cause Alliance Group – which is opposed to the current IBA leadership – would certainly be sympathetic to the IOC but the group is far from a coherent unit.

While countries like the US, Ireland and Great Britain boycotted the women’s world championships, other CCAG members such as France and Australia sent teams while one Dutch boxer defied her national association and is boxing in New Delhi.

Meanwhile, the four Irish professional boxers in action across the Atlantic in the last forty-eight hours all posted wins.

On the eve of St Patrick’s Day, three-time world amateur medallist Joe Ward took just 91 seconds to dispose of previously unbeaten Mexican Mario Andrade Rodriquez in Quebec, Canada. The Moate native is now 9-1 in his pro career.

Meanwhile, 22-year-old super welterweight Callum Walsh secured his fifth stoppage win in six professional fights in Boston. He dropped American Wesley Tucker three times before his corner threw in the towel in the second round.

Last night in Dorchester near Boston, Connemara native Thomas O’Toole made it six wins on the spin when he defeated Leonardo Ladeira in a light heavyweight contest. The referee stopped the contest in the second round.

On the same card, Cork’s Tommy Hyde took three rounds to dispose of Robert Baltaru also in a light heavyweight contest.

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