Amateur boxing’s governing body Aiba rejects Katie Taylor’s claims
Irishwoman said women’s boxing was ‘going backwards’ and she is considering turning pro
Katie Taylor is disillusioned with the current state of women’s boxing.
The world governing body for amateur boxing has rejected Katie Taylor’s claim that women’s discipline is “going backwards”.
The Irish Olympic, world and European champion expressed her frustration on Thursday with the lack of opportunities for her to compete in the wake of a successful Olympic Games in London.
A global ambassador for Aiba, she said this summer’s EU Championships were staged in a tent with 100 people watching and that she was now seriously considering turning professional.
After winning the gold medal in London 2012, she said becoming a professional was not in her thinking and that defending her title in Rio 2016 would be a priority over the following four years.
On Friday, Aiba released a statement complementing Taylor on her achievements and position in the sport, but falling short of any real commitment to the issues she mentioned.
“We all admire Katie and recognise that any frustration she feels stems from her sincere passion for the sport,” the statement read. “However we have to disagree that the state of women’s boxing is going backwards, far from it in fact.
It added: “Our development work at grassroots levels along with the inspiration offered by boxers like Katie Taylor, Nicola Adams, Claressa Shields and others is visibly taking effect on the number of young women who are engaging with the sport.”
Taylor’s father and coach Pete says the letter is little more than a publicity stunt to promote the professional WSB competition permitted by Aiba, one in which women cannot compete.
“If you read through the statement they are just using Katie’s name to promote the WSB. There are no dates or times. I also asked them about head guards. Why are men not wearing them and women still are. Do they not care about women getting brain damage? (Current thinking is that boxing without a head guard is the safer option).
“It’s an afterthought and they haven’t answered why there are still only three weight divisions in the Olympic Games for women. They are banging all the women into three weight divisions. I’ve seen girls on the scales who were nearly fainting in London to make the weight. It’s not good.”
Aiba did, in fact, say in the statement that a request to increase the number of weight divisions for Rio 2016 was rejected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Aiba statement in response to Katie Taylor
“Katie Taylor is one of the most successful boxers (male or female) of all time so naturally we take her opinion seriously. We all admire Katie and recognise that any frustration she feels stems from her sincere passion for the sport. However we have to disagree that the state of women’s boxing is going backwards, far from it in fact.
“For example, even as we speak, the opening day of the AIBA Women’s Junior/Youth World Boxing Championships is underway in Albena, Bulgaria. This is the second time the event has been held (it was launched in 2011 and like the men’s events it is biannual). This year we have a record of 312 Youth and Junior athletes taking part from all over the world. This shows that AIBA’s commitment to developing women’s boxing is bearing fruit.
“Our development work at grassroots levels along with the inspiration offered by boxers like Katie Taylor, Nicola Adams, Claressa Shields and others is visibly taking effect on the number of young women who are engaging with the sport.
“We are also proud of our campaign in 2009 which subsequently resulted in the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to include Women’s Boxing in the Olympic program.
“We have since had deep discussions with the IOC to request an increase in the number of women’s weight categories (which currently stands at three). This was unfortunately declined for Rio 2016 but we will continue in our efforts to push this agenda forward.
“We recognise that the achievements of elite women boxers like Katie were integral to our success in 2009, which is why we appointed her our official Women’s Boxing Ambassador.
“We are counting on her support as we aim to continue building on all our positive momentum to drive the women’s sport forward.
“Regarding the World Series of Boxing (WSB), we are taking Katie’s comments about a possible WSB Women’s league into consideration. We are pleased that she wants to be a part of such an exciting new team event and that she recognises the great career opportunity the WSB represents for boxers. We are certainly considering a women’s WSB for the future but for a range of technical and organisational reasons, it is unfortunately not foreseen for the time being.
“Again, her frustration is perhaps understandable as she can see that the men’s WSB league is now fully developed and features Irish boxers such as Conrad Cummings, John Joe Nevin and Eric Donavan. The quality of boxing they enjoy in the WSB is fantastic and we expect some utterly brilliant matches this season, especially now that the Cuban team has joined the fray. Nonetheless, it needs to be remembered that the WSB is still only three years old.”