There are growing fears that boxing will be dropped from the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
The sport has been mired in an on-going controversy at international level since the Rio Olympics and the crisis will come to a head at he forthcoming Congress of AIBA, the sport’s world governing body, which takes place in Moscow on November 2-3.
The key issue is the election of a new president. Following the ousting of the previous incumbent, Dr CK Wu in the wake an internal revolt within the AIBA executive, the position has been held on an interim basis by Gafur Rakhimov, a controversial figure with links to organised crime in central Asia, which he denies.
The President of the International Olympic committee Thomas Bach has warned that Rakhimov’s election as President could put boxing’s place at Tokyo in jeopardy.
Bach said boxing’s Olympic future ‘greatly depends’ on the outcome of the Congress in the Russian capital which has been interpreted as a clear warning to members of the AIBA.
While the organisation may resent the fact that an outside body appears to be adopting a dictatorial attitude towards them, the reality is they face a stark choice.
In the event of Rafhimov being elected, boxing faces expulsion from the Tokyo Games which could effectively spell the death-knell of the sport at elite amateur level.
Even though the Irish boxing team failed to secure a medal at the Rio Olympics, boxing remains the country’s most successful Olympic sport by some distance with Irish fighters winning a total of 16 medals since 1952.