A conversation with André Martin, President of French Boxing Federation12 June 2017
The February 4th, 2017 you have been riconfirmed President of French Boxing Federation : what is your program for this Olympic quadriennium 2017/2020 ?
Our federation exceeded its objectives on the previous olympiad, in terms of sports results, development and financial management. I think that this record worked in our favor. For this new mandate, we wish to see the federation turning an corner. Turning a corner in the modernization and the promotion of our discipline.
At present, the strategy directed towards the « courses » sector over the last 4 years, with a strong increase of our catalog of courses and the number of candidates registered on the various courses proposed by the French Boxing Federation, should favor the opening of new clubs.
We must now be able to mobilize all those who enter these training courses so that they can enrich the work done in our clubs. So far, the formed candidates do not go necessarily to our affiliated structures. We need to improve these footbridges between courses and field work, which will influence necessarily the sports results.
We also focus our politics on the diversity in sports. Indeed, the implementation of an updated plan of feminization, a developpment project with distant publics from practice allows us to diversify our offer by addressing all types of public. « the boxing for all » and « boxing together for better living together » are our 2 current mottos. The sport, and particularly Boxing, is a great vector of social cohesion and well-being. We are also working on a « boxing-health » program in order to use « boxing » as a real therapeutic tool for the public in need.
What are the strategies to improve boxing in France ?
The results of the Olympic Games of Rio 2016 showed that there was a real craze for boxing, with a massive arrival of young girls and boys in better conditions. Since the different structures are not able to accommodate this influx in the best possible way, we must create and develop new structures in the areas where we are in deficit. Currently we are close to 900 clubs. The medium-term goal would be to pass the 1,000 clubs, for 60,000 licensed.
French Boxing Federation close its last Olympic games in Rio with 6 medals, won by male and female athletes (2 golds, 2 silvers, 2 bronzes). How are you going to be able to maintain this high level also for Tokyo 2020 ?
The results of the last Olympics were exceptional for boxing here in France. The target ranged between two and three medals. The next target for the Tokyo Games will have to be revised downwards, as some medalists have decided to turn to a professional career and not to participate in the Tokyo Games, such as Tony Yoka (Possible participation in the 2024 Olympics if Paris wins).
Others, like Olympic vice-champion -51 kg Sarah Ourahmoune, have already announced the end of their sporting career. It is now necessary to work with a new collective, very young, while maintaining strong elements to retain the dynamics of the “Team solid”, around boxers such as Estelle Mossely, Souleymane Cissokho or Sofiane Oumiha. This does not mean that we should not be ambitious in trying to repeat the feat in 2020.
After Aiba opening to professional boxing, how will you improve this area ?
As part of the preparation for the Olympic Games, there will be the possibility, through various collectives, to obtain its Olympic qualification, whether through the AOB and the reference and qualifying competitions determined by AIBA, Or by the WSB franchise of the « Fighting Roosters ». According to our information, the WSB could offer more qualifying places for the Olympics in Tokyo. We are therefore awaiting future decisions taken by the international body.
As a last resort, boxers already registered as professionals will have the opportunity to participate in the AOB competitions. Again, we are waiting for the selection procedures offered to professional boxing by AIBA. Will pros boxers be integrated into the same selection process as AOB boxers with participation in the World Qualifying Championships or Olympic Qualifying Tournaments? Or will a dedicated OQT be dedicated to them, just as at the Rio 2016 Games?
How are the dealing with the fight against doping ?
With firmness and in compliance with the regulations in force advocated by the AFLD (anti doping french agency). There is a need to educate our athletes about the need for them to provide up-to-date calendar elements to avoid being penalized by warnings that may deprive them of major competitions. They must be responsible for their project.
Can you write your short life story ?
I’m a former entrepreneur. I often like to say that I want to see the federation function as a business. In boxing, I practically fulfilled all the functions: boxer, club president, organizer, president of a regional committee, president of the National Amateur Boxing Commission, vice-president of the federation and finally, president Of the latter. I see myself as a field man and not a technocrat. All these experiences have been very enriching. This allowed me to have a global vision of boxing and its development issues. I always followed boxing and to tell you everything, she gave it back to me.