Olympic Boxing: Less men, more women

The International Olympic Committee Executive Board has announced that they recommend boxing to maintain its place on the sports program of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, with the total athlete quota for boxing for Tokyo 2020 remaining at 286, however two current men’s divisions would be eliminated and be replaced by new women’s divisions.

There were ten men’s events and three women’s events fox boxing at both London 2012 and Rio 2016. Tokyo 2020 would have a total number of eight men’s events and five women’s events. This change is being made in the interests of gender equality in boxing.

The IOC Board also recommended that the recognition of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) be suspended due to a lack of satisfactory progress in the areas of finance, governance, ethics and refereeing and judging.

These decisions will be addressed at the June 24-26 IOC session in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Additionally, the EB created a special task force, chaired by IOC Member and President of the International Gymnastic Federation (FIG) Morinari Watanabe, with the mandate to:

a. Ensure the delivery of the following boxing competitions, with a goal of increasing sustainable gender equality in all areas of the sport:

i. Qualification events for boxing in view of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, due to take place between January 2020 and May 2020;

ii. Boxing tournament at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

b. Develop a Tokyo 2020 Qualification System for boxing, including the following details to be confirmed not later than the end of June 2019:

i. Definition of Men’s and Women’s weight categories;

ii. Review of quota places allocation across the boxing events, with a goal of increasing gender equality;

iii. Set the criteria for the quota places distribution at the qualification events.

The EB also noted that no Tokyo 2020 qualification system has been previously confirmed by the IOC for boxing and no events have been confirmed by the IOC as Olympic qualification events. The IOC will develop a new calendar for the Olympic qualifiers, which will take place between January and May 2020.

The status of AIBA’s full recognition will in principle be reviewed after Tokyo 2020. The evolution of AIBA’s situation and progress towards compliance with the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics are monitored through a special monitoring committee which consists of the members of the former Inquiry Committee.

“Today’s decision was taken in the interest of the athletes and the sport of boxing. We want to ensure that the athletes can live their dream and participate in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 while drawing the necessary consequences for AIBA following the recommendations of the Inquiry Committee. At the same time, we offer a pathway back to lifting the suspension, but there needs to be further fundamental change,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

The 134th IOC Session that will be taking the decision on AIBA and the sport of boxing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is scheduled to take place from 24 to 26 June 2019 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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