First step to unify the boxing world through the Olympic Games

13 June 2016 News

After the extraordinary AIBA congress and its clear determination I would like to further analyze some aspects regarding this important step in Olympic boxing history.

Boxing is still a popular sport and fan interest has been increasing. by strengthening its mission – “to govern the sport of boxing in all its forms worldwide” – AIBA is giving an important contribution in order to break the anomalous path the current professional boxing system has taken.

This system doesn’t allow credibility growth for our sport, due to the well known reasons:

  1. Absence of a single globally recognized sanctioning body
  2. Too many title bouts with perfunctory rankings
  3. Too many weight categories
  4. Not enough attractive bouts on tv

The right and courageous choice of president Wu to open the Olympics to pro boxers will be a great opportunity to reconnect “amateur” and “professional” boxing, widely divided in many countries, and to build a new “solidarity agreement” between national boxing federations and boxing promoters.

Through these new alliances, attractive boxing events will be developed and promoted worldwide.

In order to recover credibility and financial resources from the global sports market, all together we have to strive to improve some symbolic keys of boxing events:

* identity – quality – integrity – entertainment.

Moreover, thanks to this historical step we have to take into consideration two outstanding possibilities:

  • becoming part of Olympic sport, professional boxing will enjoy a new financial attention by governments and national sport institutions;
  • this change will give an important technical power to the boxing federations.

which will be able to choose also pro boxers to represent their country at olympic games.

The above will give a great boost for the set up of new dialogues between NFS, promoters and pro international bodies.


Some journalist, manager and famous boxers, declared their opposition to this opening in the Olympic games, because they deem it would be dangerous for AIBA boxers to fight against pro fighters champions.

On the contrary based the opinion of the majority of AIBA coaches and my direct experience, there isn’t a substantial difference between our Olympic boxers and current pro fighters, for three fundamental reasons:

  • The shorter duration of the bouts
  • The different typology of the boxing gloves
  • The role of our referees/judges

In three rounds the competition needs special physiological parameters: rapidity, high intensity pace under AIBA rules.

Our boxing gloves are softer and much more protective than those used in pro boxing.

The referees have to respect the AIBA rules and they don’t allow incorrect fight and to massacre the opponent.

I fully agree with Cuba’s President , Alberto Puig de la Barca, when he declared: “It won’t be easy for the pro fighters to gain the gold medal in the current Olympic format competition. We wait for them on the ring”.

Furthermore, we have to say another truth. The competition between “amateur” and “pro” boxers has always existed in our sport.

We have always had very strong “amateurs for life”.

Mature and seasoned boxers with more than 2-300 bouts have always faced young and inexperienced boxers in our international and Olympic competitions.

Finally, who are professional boxers, today? The boxers who belong to our national teams, with good coaches, good sanitary staff – dietician, massophisioterapist, psychologist, personal trainer- and adequate competition calendar, or the current pro boxers left to their own and hired last minute to substitute some absence or to fight in order to lose?

Therefore, we reiterate our firm sharing with the unanimous result of the extraordinary congress and we thank president Wu for this great innovation that makes all of us most proud to belong to AIBA.

Franco Falcinelli

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