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Photo Credit: AIBA/IOC

Last week the IBF (International Boxing Federation) held a meeting with its board of directors and executive members to discuss the on-going situation with AIBA (International Boxing Association) along with the IOC (International Olympic Committee) to allow the participation of professional fighters in the games this August. Preliminary discussions were held during the IBF’s annual convention this past May in Beijing, China where IBF Medical Committee member and ringside physician, Dr. Paul Wallace presented the organization with a letter sent to AIBA’s President, Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu, by Dr. Raymond Monsell, Chairman of the Association of Ringside Physicians and Dr. Larry Lovelace, President of the Association of Ringside Physicians. In the letter the doctors address their concerns in reference to skill levels generally across the vast majority of fighters from the amateurs. The difference in scoring amateur bouts vs. professional bouts and the use of head gear. (Details of what was exactly written word for word to AIBA not been publicly released to my knowledge)

Yes we are all aware of the top amateurs with ridiculous skills but its not them fighters that I am personally concerned with. It’s the fighter who comes from a developing nation who has had a handful of fights domestically and become ranked #1 in their nation. Thus allows him/her to compete against pro fighters with years and years of experience and dedication which overall makes it a complete mismatch and potentially a situation of legalised manslaughter.

IBF statement:

Upon reviewing the medical opinions put forth in this letter, and conferring with other individuals and organizations involved in the sport, the IBF believes that there is an inherent risk with professionals competing against amateurs. While the IBF/USBA Rules Governing Championships Contests do not specifically address professional boxers competing against amateur boxers, the organization will apply its rules 5 and 14 in addressing any situation where an IBF Champion or fighter rated by the IBF chooses to compete as a boxer in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.   The rules are as follows:

Rule 5 of the IBF/USBA Rules Governing Championship Contest cites:

“A Champion and Challenger must at all times set high ideals and act in a sportsmanlike manner. Any action by a Champion, Challenger promoter, manager or corner man which reflects poorly on the IBF/USBA or the sport of boxing will subject the contestant to the imposition of discipline and penalties. The provisions of Rule 14 will be applied to any such situation.”

Rule 14 of the IBF/USBA Rules Governing Championship Contest cites:

“Should any Champion or Challenger be found in violation of any of the rules of the IBF/USBA, he may be removed from the rankings for a period of not less than one (1) year. Should any Champion, Challenger, promoter, corner man or manager be found to have acted in an unsportsmanlike or unprofessional manner as provided in Rule 5 (IBF and USBA championship, elimination and unification bouts) by a majority vote of the Board of Directors, the Champion or the Challenger may be subject to fine, forfeiture of monies, vacation of title, lowering or removal from the ratings or any other discipline directed by the Board of Directors. Any boxer, promoter, corner man or manager subjected to discipline under this rule has a right to appeal the finding of a violation or the imposition of discipline, or both, under Rule 12, Appeal Procedure.”

Essentially, an IBF Champion or fighter included in the IBF ratings that chooses to participate in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio will be found in violation of rule 5.  Their participation in these games will be considered unsportsmanlike behaviour due to the potential risks involved with amateur boxers competing against professional boxers.  An IBF Champion found in violation of rule 5 will have the title vacated and will be removed from the ratings for one year, and an IBF rated fighter will be removed from the ratings for one year.

“Making this decision was not difficult for us. We felt it was important for the IBF to get involved and take a stance against professional boxers competing against amateurs due to safety concerns as part of our commitment to this sport is to promote the health and well-being of the boxers,” noted IBF President Daryl Peoples.

The WBA and WBO are still to make their moves on this situation and issue any statements on the situation. With the upcoming professional qualifiers fast approaching to be held in Venezuela something at least from them two organisations in question is required to give their viewpoint either in favour or against.

The WBC and IBF have at least taken a view point and issued the potential sanctions against individuals and made it perfectly clear with a zero tolerance attitude so far. Will they follow through with their actions … We hope so.

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