By Tom Degun

World Boxing Council beltApril 7 - The World Boxing Council (WBC), widely considered the sport's leading professional organisation, have complained to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over the International Boxing Association's (AIBA) increasing move away from amateurism. 

The AIBA were founded in 1946 to govern amateur boxing but since C K Wu took over as President of the organisation in 2006, major steps have been taken to get them involved in the professional side of the sport.

The organisation launched their World Series of Boxing (WSB) tournament in 2010, currently the only competition in the world that allows fighters to compete professionally and retain their Olympic eligibility.

A second tournament - AIBA Professional Boxing (APB) - is due to begin later this year and link to WSB, while headguards have now been removed from all elite men's competitions, including the Olympic Games.

WBC President José Sulaimán of Mexico has now publically expressed his concern at AIBA's move towards professionalism with a press release titled "The World Boxing Council strongly objects the steps taken by AIB"' in which he attacks the Lausanne-based organisation.

"The WBC, widely recognised as the premier professional boxing sanctioning organisation in the world, and José Sulaimán, its President, strongly object to the steps taken by the AIBA to organise professional boxing tournaments under the name WSB," says the WBC statement.

"According to AIBA/WSB, only boxers registered in their tournament will be eligible to compete at the Olympic Games to the exclusion of any boxers affiliated with any other organisation.

"All boxers worldwide eligible under current Olympic Games' requirements, regardless of their country of origin or the organisation with which they are affiliated, should have the same opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games.

"AIBA/WSB's actions clearly constitute an attempt to establish a monopoly and a restraint of trade.

"AIBA/WSB elitist attitude in disregard of the rights of the world's boxers is further confirmed by their exclusion of third-world countries among their proposed tournament sites.

"In furtherance of its nefarious intentions, AIBA withdrew the letter 'A', which denoted 'amateur' from its acronym.

"By doing so, the new AIBA now has become part of a group of about 10 professional boxing organisations, all of which should have the same rights."
José SulaimánWBC President José Sulaimán of Mexico says AIBA are presenting a danger to the sport of boxing

The WBC have also revealed that they have approached the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about the issue asking them to investigate AIBA but have so far heard no response.

"The WBC has sent three inquiries about the AIBA/WSB's discriminatory actions to the IOC and its President Jacques Rogge," said the statement.

"In its inquiries, the WBC has asked Mr Rogge to endorse or disavow AIBA/WSB's actions, which are illegal and in violation of the rights of the citizens of every nation and their legal boxing institutions.

"Mr Rogge and the IOC have not given the WBC even the courtesy of a response.

"The WBC will remain vigilant and will continue to monitor AIBA/WSB's abuses of power and attempts to demand that sovereign nations change their laws to accommodate AIBA/WSB's restrictive purposes.

"The WBC is committed to continue advising the boxing world and the world leaders of the sport about the danger to the sport of boxing that AIBA/WSB represents."

The move from the WBC is perhaps no major surprise because if AIBA's move towards professionalism is successful long-term, they would stop the world's top boxers going to the traditional professional ranks and control boxing at all levels.

AIBA President Wu, who is also an IOC Executive Board member, has denied his organisation is looking for confrontation with the traditional professional ranks.

"We are not after confrontation with professional promoters and organisations," Wu told insidethegames.

"They have their own agenda and we have our own agenda.

"Our agenda is to offer a stable career for fighters after the Olympics and to allow them to compete professionally while also retaining their Olympic eligibility.

"But in the WSB and the APB, we obviously want the highest level of competition."

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