Ireland’s World champions Broadhurst and O’Rourke yet to receive $100,000 prize money four months after event

Unclear when duo will be paid as IBA struggles to access funds from Gazprom sponsorship

Four months after their gold medal wins at the World Championships in Istanbul both Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke are still waiting on their $100,000 in prize money due to be paid by the International Boxing Association (IBA).

There is increasing concern around the process of this prize money being paid out, given the state of the IBA’s finances and dependency on chief sponsor Gazprom, the Russian majority state-owned gas behemoth currently subjected to a series of sanctions given the war in Ukraine.

This in turn has impacted on the IBA’s bank accounts and access to funds, including the $2.4 million in total prize money announced on the back of Gazprom sponsorship for the World Championships staged back in May, the first time financial rewards were offered at a women’s championships.

It included $100,000 for each of the dozen weight category gold medal winners, $50,000 for winning silver, and $25,000 for winning bronze (which in boxing happens twice given there is no fourth place).


The Irish boxers won gold medals within a half hour of each other, Broadhurst first at light-welterweight and then O’Rourke at light-middleweight, taking ownership of the opening night of finals staged at the Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul.

They won unanimous and split decisions respectively to become World champions for the first time in their careers, and immediately $100,000 richer; or so they thought.

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) confirmed to The Irish Times on Friday it has made “consistent contact” with the IBA since last May in an effort to secure transfer of the prize money to Broadhurst and O’Rourke – $200,000 in total – but to no avail.

Correspondence seen by The Irish Times between USA Boxing and the IBA reveals a similar wait for the prize money for their gold medal winner Rashida Ellis. She is also due $100,000 after winning the lightweight crown in Istanbul in the absence of the injured Kellie Harrington, the Olympic champion in that division. USA Boxing has made four requests for clarification on the matter with payments totalling $185,000 due to USA boxers still outstanding.

The IBA had indicated to member federations the prize money would be wired in a single transfer to each of the successful boxer’s accounts, once bank details were verified and anti-doping requirements fulfilled. This was expected to take several weeks, though certainly not several months.

In a response for clarification on the matter, the IBA stated by email on Friday that “the first Istanbul medallists have already received their prize money” and “the process will be finalised within the next few days for every one of those who won a medal at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships.”

Such statements have been made before, however, including to USA Boxing. Ciara Plunkett, the IABA’s communications and inclusion officer, says their most recent contact with the IBA was 10 days ago. “We have been in consistent contact with the IBA, since May, and have been given no date or indication of when the money would be transferred. Our understanding is all other federations are left in a similar situation.”

Asked if the IABA were sure the prize money would be paid, she said: “We wouldn’t have any great indication, at this stage, of how it might go either way.”

O’Rourke, along with her sister Aoife, is coached by Mike Mongan, head coach at the Olympic boxing club in Galway. She turned 20 on the same weekend as the championships in Istanbul and wasn’t yet on Sport Ireland funding, the outstanding prize money clearly going a long way in her young career.

“They [IBA] were talking first about waiting on anti-doping, to make sure all the winners were clean, but I think they’re just putting it on the long finger now,” says Mongan. “The sponsor being Gazprom, being Russian, I don’t know what that might have to do with it.

“But it’s definitely suspicious at this stage. It’s a life-changing amount of money for Lisa and for Amy, and I think they’re preparing themselves to be set up for some disappointment.”

It’s been reported the Gazprom deal had been worth around $31 million to the IBA, and is set to expire at the end December. Gazprom is 38 per cent owned by the Kremlin, two other Russian state companies owning an additional 12 per cent. Back in March the European Union banned all investments in the Russian energy sector including Gazprom. The US and UK governments have also imposed sanctions on Gazprom.

Since December 2017, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suspended all funding to the IBA, which last year dropped all reference to the once Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA).

The delay in delivering prize money comes against the backdrop of the latest fight to keep boxing in the Olympics, the IBA staging an extraordinary congress on Sunday week, September 25th, in Yerevan in Armenia where current president Umar Kremlev is set to be challenged by Dutch Boxing Federation president Boris van der Vorst.

An IOC letter to the IBA last week highlighted concerns around the “financial dependency” on Gazprom and an “increased” role of the presidential office in Moscow. A final decision on boxing’s inclusion in the 2028 Games in Los Angeles will be made next March. It is currently not part of the Olympic programme beyond Paris.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics