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Boxing facing chop from Olympics after being left off list of guaranteed sports

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Boxing could be removed from the Olympics ahead of the 2028 games. Image credit: Sportsfile.

Boxing could be removed from the Olympics ahead of the 2028 games. Image credit: Sportsfile.

Boxing could be removed from the Olympics ahead of the 2028 games. Image credit: Sportsfile.

BOXING has been left off the list of guaranteed sports for the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.

However, the International Olympic Committee says there is still a ‘pathway’ for Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport to be included in the 2028 programme.

The IOC has given AIBA, the troubled world governing body of boxing, until 2023 to get their house in order.

Even though boxing is only provisionally included in the Paris programme, it is expected that one of the iconic Olympic sports will at least keep its spot in three years’ time. But it’s long-term viability as an Olympic sport is hanging by a thread.

While the decision is not a surprise, if followed through it would have a catastrophic impact on amateur boxing, not just in Ireland, but worldwide.

Ireland has a rich tradition of success in the sport stretching back to John McNally’s silver medal win at the 1952 Games in Helsinki.

Three of Ireland’s Olympic gold medals have been achieved in boxing with Michael Carruth (1992), Katie Taylor (2012) and most recently Kellie Harrington all achieving the ultimate goal.

Seventeen Irish boxers have won 18 Olympic medals in boxing with Paddy Barnes winning back-to-back bronze medals at the Beijing and London Games.

However, the IOC and the AIBA have been at logger heads in recent years. The world governing body was suspended from organising the tournament at the recent Olympics in Tokyo. An IOC Task Force ran the event.

Boxing is not the only sport which faces the axe in 2028. Weight-lifting and the modern pentathlon are no longer guaranteed sports for the LA Games.

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Like boxing, they have an opportunity to get their house in order within the next two years.

Weight-lifting has been bedevilled for decades by drug-taking allegations while at the Tokyo Olympics, the modern pentathlon descended into chaos when a number of horses – including the one assigned to Ireland’s Natalya Coyle – performed erratically in the crucial show jumping round. It is now been proposed to drop the show-jumping event after Paris.

There will be eye-brows raised by the decision of the IOC Executive to add skateboarding, surfing and sports climbing to the list of core sports for the Los Angeles Games.

Soccer has retained its place, but the IOC said it would ‘continue to monitor the evolution of the international match calendar’ following FIFA’s controversial plan to hold the men’s World Cup every two years.

Speaking after a meeting of the IOC’s Executive Board, President Thomas Bach described weight-lifting and boxing as ‘problem children.’

Nonetheless, the IOC has left the door open for AIBA to be reinstated as the Olympic governing for boxing in 2023 provided they adhere to a roadmap on three key issues finances, governance and refereeing and judging.

AIBA must ‘demonstrate it has successfully addressed the ongoing concerns around its governance, financial transparency and sustainability, and integrity of refereeing and judging process’ to be retained in the Los Angles programme which will be finalised in December 2024 said Bach.


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