Franco Falcinelli has questioned AIBA's efforts to collaborate with the WBA ©EUBC

European Boxing Confederation (EUBC) President Franco Falcinelli has become the latest official to voice concern over the International Boxing Association's (AIBA) intention to work more closely with the professional World Boxing Association (WBA).

AIBA's Interim President Mohamed Moustahsane has faced criticism for agreeing to work closely with the WBA, which joined in with the celebrations of International Boxing Day yesterday.

Falcinelli referenced concerns raised by AIBA Executive Committee members Eyup Gözgeç and Mikayilov Suleyman over the issue.

The Italian highlighted efforts by former AIBA President C K Wu to increase ties with the WBA in the past, which were initially hoped to enable professional boxers to compete at the Olympic Games and launch a Boxing World Cup.

Falcinelli said the participation of little-known professional boxers at Rio 2016 had "resulted in failure" and claimed the WBA being unable to ensure the best boxers could compete at the Boxing World Cup had led to the end of AIBA's partnership with the body in 2017.

He also questioned the current efforts to restart the partnership, with the Italian instead calling on AIBA's leadership to focus on electing a new President, clearing its debts and resolving ethical issues in the organisation.

"If it did not work out when AIBA was still in a good shape, how could it work now given the current AIBA's financial situation?” Falcinelli wrote.

"Who will guarantee all event budgets?

"Who will manage the competitions?

"Who will manage all financial conditions related to the events? 

"How this joint partnership will help current AIBA?

"Moreover, it remains unclear why the secrecy of this partnership, and why the AIBA EC are not involved in the talks and negotiations with WBA.

"Borrowing this opportunity, I would like to demand AIBA and the Interim President the following: is this the right time to reopen dialogue with the professional boxing world?

"Rather, I believe it is our precious time to rebuild a new and reliable governance structure by electing the new President, find ways to clear all debts, reshape all ethics in organisation and competitions and guarantee of the correctness of the technical results as requested by the IOC.

"The AIBA Congress of December must be the priority.

"A new President will be elected, a new constitution will be adopted and maybe a new era for AIBA will finally begin."

AIBA Interim President Mohamed Moustahsane has faced criticism for agreeing to work closely with the WBA ©AIBA
AIBA Interim President Mohamed Moustahsane has faced criticism for agreeing to work closely with the WBA ©AIBA

Falcinelli said he shared the concerns raised by Gözgeç and Suleyman in letters to AIBA Interim President Moustahsane.

Gözgeç claimed a possible partnership with the WBA could "perhaps fully end AIBA as an association once and for all".

Moustahsane dismissed the allegations made by Gözgec, claiming his letter was "full of inaccuracies" and that working with the WBA "has absolutely nothing to do with the resignation of former president CK Wu, the election by the Congress of Mr Rakhimov in November 2018 and the decision issued by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to suspend AIBA".

The Moroccan, who will continue as Interim President until elections take place in December, told insidethegames in a statement that there are "no personal interests" in the cooperation with the WBA.

"The goal is to make a path for amateur boxers for their further development and the prolongation of their career in professional boxing," he said.

"The idea is to create the system where each athlete would feel secure and would realise his options in each moment of the career." 

The WBA yesterday offered its support to AIBA's celebration of International Boxing Day, which falls on July 22.

WBA President Gilberto Jesus Mendoza signed a resolution stating that the WBA members join AIBA to celebrate the day.

International Boxing Day was launched in Russia in 2017 and recognised by the AIBA Executive Committee in 2019.

"The International Boxing Day stands to honour boxers, trainers, cutmen, boxing gyms, judges and referees and all members of the great boxing family," the WBA resolution read.

"Boxing is only one sport."

The WBA said it would support AIBA in the launching of July 22 as International Boxing Day, and would celebrate the day from this year onwards.