Category Archives: Amateur

December 6, 2017
December 6, 2017
Commonwealth Games

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AMERICAN men remain top of the boxing medal table at the Summer Olympics. Cuban men dominate the World championships medal haul; while England’s men reign supreme in the Commonwealth Games ring medal tally. Women only competed, for the first time, in the boxing ring at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

Australia’ Gold Coast, situated in Brisbane, hosts the XX1 Commonwealth Games in April 2018. The Commonwealth Games as they are now known, take place every four years. Let us reflect for a moment or two on a brief history of the Games. They started in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in August  1930 and were known as the British Empire Games until 1950. From 1950 until 1966 they were cast as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games; while in 1970 and 1974 they were called the British Commonwealth Games. From 1978 they have simply been recognised as the Commonwealth Games (or overall for the purpose of these columns simply described as the “Games”).

Boxing has been included in the Games sporting programme since the inaugural days. It is a core sport and must be included in the sporting programme of each Games. At the inaugural Games in 1930, England won five of the eight titles and apart from a few barren Games, England has remained in that pole medal position.

Nine separate countries have hosted the Games as follows: Australia 5 times (including 2018); Canada 4; New Zealand 3, Scotland 3; England 2; India 1, Jamaica 1; Malaysia 1 and Wales 1.

As with other major international sporting events, the Games have not been without political or racial controversy. For instance, the second Games of 1934 were originally awarded to Johannesburg  in South Africa, but were eventually switched to London, following concern about how South Africa would treat black and Asian competitors. South Africa took part in the Games from 1930 to 1958 and then from 1994 to date. Because of this country’s then apartheid policy, South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth in 1961, but was re-admitted in 1994.

In 1978, Nigeria boycotted the Edmonton Games in Canada, because of New Zealand’s sporting links with the then apartheid South Africa. Uganda also stayed away but for other political reasons.

However, the 1986 Games in Edinburgh, were to use the Scottish word were blighted by a huge “kerfuffle” with 32 countries, mainly African, Asian and Caribbean countries staying away out of a total of 59 eligible to participate. They objected to the then Thatcher Government policy of keeping sporting links with the then apartheid South Africa in preference to participating in the general sporting boycott of that country. In the event, only 86 actually competed out of an original entry of 168. It was also understood that the issue was further complicated in that the South African runner Zola Budd and swimmer Annette Cowley , who had obtained British passports, were included in the English team.

A very sad situation, but one illustrating, yet again, the power of politics in sport and how it can affect an individual event and of course, the sporting careers of those “would be competitors” at that time. Boycotts, for whatever reason are sad because they deny competitors the right to demonstrate their skills and let us not forget on a four year Games cycle, many will not have had another chance to take part in a subsequent Games.

Four countries have at times been suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations, two of them, Pakistan and Fiji on two occasions. Nigeria was suspended in November 1995, its suspension ended in May 1999; Zimbabwe was suspended in March 2002 and then left the Commonwealth family in December 2003.

Pakistan was first suspended in October 1999 which then ended in May 2004 and then again in November 2007 which was then lifted in May 2008. Fiji’s initial suspension occurred in June 2000 ending in December 2001 and its second suspension took place in December 2006 and was ended in September 2014. However, their participation in activities of the Commonwealth Family were not necessarily affected; although Nigeria was suspended from the Games in 1998 and Fiji likewise in 2010. Fiji did however attend the Games in Glasgow in 2014.

When Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth of Nations in December 2003, they had achieved a ring medal tally of 14 medals – 1 gold, 8 silver and 5 bronze. The gold medal was won in 1954, in Vancouver, by the classy southpaw lightweight, Pieter Van Staden from Southern Rhodesia, the predecessor state of the modern Zimbabwe.

It seems that home advantage does not really aid boxing medallists at the Games as only two host countries have so far come out as best medal winning nations on their own turf. England in the second ever Games in 1934 and Canada in 1994. The best nations with their respective medal triumphs are as follows: England 7 times, South Africa 3 times (perhaps quite surprising given their many absences from the Games); Kenya 3 times; Canada 2 times; Ghana 2 times; Australia, Northern Ireland and Uganda each once.

So now to the hard stuff, the medal winning countries and later on those many outstanding performers in individual weight categories from their respective countries.

Commonwealth Games

Starting with top six countries on the medal table in gold, silver and bronze order we find: England 54, 27, 37 (118); Canada 25, 22, 35 (82); Scotland 17, 16, 30 (63); Australia 15, 15, 32 (62); South Africa 15,8,11 (34); Northern Ireland 13, 13, 27 (53).

Then going down the table as follows we have: Nigeria 13, 6,17 (36); Kenya 12, 13, 23 (48); Ghana 9, 10, 13 (32); Uganda 8, 10, 15 (33); New Zealand 6, 6, 20 (32); India 5, 9, 14 (28); Wales 4, 13, 20 (37). Zambia and Jamaica each have two gold along with various silver and bronze.

There are eight countries with one gold and medals of other colours namely: Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Pakistan, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Guyana and Malaysia; while Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has a solitary gold. At least 16 other countries have attained medals of a hue other than gold. Many of them achieving both silver and bronze successes.

England, Scotland and Northern Ireland triumphs are sporting successes to savour, long may this important trend continue.

Now comes the really difficult part of this exercise, choosing many of the Games medallists, some known just for their amateur exploits; others for their subsequent successes too in the professional ring. Remember please it is only an opinion even if it is mine, at least it should open up debate and discussion. Boxing is nothing without that is it?

So here goes – all those listed are Commonwealth Games gold medallists, unless they achieved either silver or bronze which is documented thus. For ease of reference the boxers are listed in weight categories, some of which are no longer contested these days at the Games. The predominance of boxers from the four home countries reflects their success to some extent in the overall medal table. Often some other outstanding medal achievements are also documented, although not necessarily obtained in the specific weight categories in which they achieved their Games successes, nor on similar dates. No discourtesy is intended towards any boxers left out of my choices, it is pure and simply my own opinion, for what it may or may not be worth.

I hope that many of our readers will forgive me for not listing all of the formal achievements of my choices, although for special interest it has been done so in some cases.

GOLD MEDALLISTS AT THE GAMES UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED:

Light Fly – Mickey Abrams (Eng – bronze) and 3 times ABA champion at this weight. 1970 was the first time that this weight had been introduced in the Games and one year later for that matter into the National Senior ABA Championships.

Stephen Muchoki (Kenya – Twice champion)

Darren Langley (Eng –Twice silver) 3 times ABA champion

Paddy Barnes (NIR – Twice champion) Also 2 Olympic bronze medals

Fly

Jackie Brown (Scot)

Hughie Russell (NIR –bronze)

John Lyon (Eng) also achieved silver at Light Fly in 1982. Eight times ABA champion (4 light-fly, 4 fly). Arguably the best English amateur boxer in domestic competition in modern era.

Wayne McCullough (NIR)

Bantam

Johnny van Rensburg (South Af)

Howard Winstone (Wales)

Eddie Ndukwu (Nig) Two golds one at featherweight

Pat Cowdell (Eng)

Barry McGuigan (NIR)

Michael Conlan (NIR) Gold at Worlds and Bronze at Olympics

Feather

Philip Waruinge (Ken) Two golds also Olympic bronze (plus Val Barker Trophy) and silver medal

Peter Konyegwachie (Ghana) also Olympic silver in 1984

Azumah Nelson (Ghana)

Alex Arthur (Scot)

Stephen Smith (Eng)

Light

Dick McTaggart (Scot), also Olympic gold and bronze and also silver too at Games at light-welter. 5 times ABA champion spanning lightweight and light-welterweight titles. Arguably the greatest amateur boxer ever to come from these islands – did not turn professional

Ayub Kalule (Uga)

Frankie Gavin (Eng) also gold at World Championships – still England’s only male World amateur champion

Light welter

Clement Quartey

Darren Barker (Eng)

Josh Taylor (Scot) also silver at lightweight at previous Games

Welter

Nicky Gargano (Eng), bronze at Olympic Games  in 1956, three times ABA welterweight champion. An outstanding amateur who never turned professional

Mike McCallum (Jam)

David Defiagbon (Nig) later won silver at Olympics in 1996 under the flag of Canada at heavyweight

Callum Smith (Eng)

Light middle

Lottie Mwale (Zam)

Shawn O’Sullivan (Can) also silver at 1984 Olympics and gold at World championships

Richie Woodhall (Eng) and also bronze at 1988 Olympics

Chris Bessey (Eng) Six times ABA champion (different weights)

Middle

John Conteh (Eng)

Rod Douglas (Eng) 3 times ABA light-middle champion

James Degale (Eng) Bronze and later Olympic champion in 2008 also 2 ABA titles

Anthony Ogogo (Eng) Silver and Olympic bronze in 2012

Vijender Singh (Ind) 2 silvers and 1 Bronze; Bronzes at both Worlds and Olympics. Arguably, India’s most prolific male international boxing medallist.

Light Heavy

Tony Madigan (Aus) 2 golds and a silver, bronze at the 1960 Olympics and an ABA title with the then Fulham ABC while residing in London

Fatai Ayinla (Nig) also 2 silver and a Bronze at Worlds

Dale Brown (Canada) also silver and 2 bronze at Worlds

Heavy

Daniel Bekker (South Af) Silver at 1960 Olympics

Dave Thomas (Eng) Silver, beaten in the Games final by Dan Bekker. London’s “Fighting Dustman” won 3 ABA heavyweight titles

Willie de Wit (Can) also silver at Olympics

James Peau (NZ aka Jimmy Thunder )

Super Heavy

Lennox Lewis (Can) Inaugural Games champion at this weight, also Olympic inaugural champion at this weight in 1988

Paea Wolfgramm (Tonga) Bronze and Silver at 1996 Olympics outpointed by none other than Wladimir Klitschko in the final

Audley Harrison (Eng) also Olympic champion in 2000 and also 2 ABA titles

David Dolan (Eng) won 3 ABA Heavyweight titles

David Price (Eng) Olympic bronze medallist and Team captain for boxing, also won 3 ABA super heavyweight titles

Joe Joyce (Eng) Silver at 2016 Olympics, also bronze at Worlds and won 2 ABA super heavyweight championships

Women’s boxing was included at the Games in Glasgow in 2014 for the first time, only three weights being contested. England won two gold. As she did at London 2012, England’s flyweight Nicola Adams won the Games first ever women’s boxing gold medal. English middleweight, Savannah Marshall also claimed gold while, Australian, Shelley Watts took gold in the lightweight division.

Silvers went to Northern Ireland, India and Canada, with bronze medals being claimed by: India, Canada, Northern Ireland, Mozambique, Wales and Nigeria.

Well, our journey is almost complete, the Games have played a very important part in amateur boxing over almost 90 years. They have helped establish some as fine amateurs who went on to greater World and Olympic glory and also for some they have proved a trusted pathway to world professional championship glory. Let’s give three rousing cheers for the Games, long may they continue.

November 11, 2017
November 11, 2017
Cuba

World Series of Boxing

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TWO countries, one a tiny Caribbean island nation with a small population; the other massive in area with a huge number of inhabitants have dominated the AIBA World Boxing Championships (formerly known as the World Amateur Boxing Championships). The Republic of Cuba (Cuba) has dominated the men’s championships and likewise the Russian Federation (Russia), the women’s event. Two nations who, in many ways could not be more dissimilar rule the roost in the world amateur championships boxing ring.

Nineteen men’s world championships have come and gone and the story has only ever been about Cuba; it seems it was ever thus. In nine women’s world championships, Russia has reigned supreme. Only a brave, nay, perhaps, only a foolish man would likely suggest that this order is about to change anytime soon.

What we will never know is, had Cuban women been allowed, first to box in their own country, and then internationally, what impact they may have had on past world championships. The Cuban ban on female boxers is still hard to comprehend, even today, and many of us, long for the day, when Cuban females will be allowed to strut their ring stuff on the global stage. This can only be good for our amateur sport. I only hope that it will happen while I can still write in these columns; although I will not hold my breath for this eventuality. That said, it is understood that the Cuban government continues to look at the medical implications for women’s boxing.

Since, 1974 in Havana, where the initial championships were held, Cuba has amassed a phenomenal 135 men’s medals in the “worlds”, many more than the present day Russian Federation and the former old USSR (Soviet Union) whose combined total reads 108 medals (65 and 43 respectively). The United States of America are in third spot with 45 medals. Following on in that gold, silver and bronze medal order are a mixture of the “new kids on the block” and the older established eastern European ring strongholds; Kazakhstan (40); Bulgaria (34); Romania (29); Uzbekistan (36); Ukraine (29)and Azerbaijan(19).

Next come three western European boxing countries again in strict medal colour order; Italy (22), Germany(35) and France (23). China ranks next on 13 medals overall, and then Hungary on 10 and then Turkey with 16.

England, the Republic of Ireland and Poland – one of my all time favourite amateur boxing nations – have but one men’s gold medallist as follows: Frankie Gavin in 2007 at lightweight in Chicago; Michael Conlan in 2015 at bantamweight in Qatar and Henryk Srednicki  in 1978 at flyweight in Belgrade,only the second ever “men’s worlds”. Overall the combined England/ GB medal return is 1 gold, 3 silver and 8 bronze. Disappointing overall returns indeed for such well established amateur boxing countries, with really no dramatic prospects for any likely improvements anytime soon, I would suggest. But there is always hope and this is what we must cling to for now it seems.

Not surprisingly, Cuba has no fewer than nine multiple gold medallists from the world championships; Felix Savon  (6 gold and 1 silver); Juan Hernandez Sierra (4gold and 1 bronze); Julio Cesar La Cruz (4 gold); Lazaro Alvarez (3 gold and 1 silver); Roberto Balado (3 gold); Adolfo Horta (3 gold); Mario Kindelan (3 gold); Odlanier Solis (3 gold) and Teofilo Stevenson (3 gold). Only four other boxers  are able to compete in this impressive and formidable  list of illustrious ring title holders:  Bulgaria’s Serafim Todorov (3 gold and 1 silver); China’s Zou Shiming (3 gold and 1 silver); Romania’s Francisc Vastag ( 3 gold and 1 bronze) and finally Magomedrasul  Majidov from Azerbaijan with three golds.  The Cuban production line of champions is truly awesome and has shaped men’s boxing at world level for over 40 years with no sign of diminishing. They deserve our praise and admiration. Some will still suggest, maybe even insist that Cuba’s success is due to the fact that it is one of the world’s last truly socialist countries following Marxist- Leninist ideology. They may have a point I suppose, but there will be many other factors too, which will need further and much closer examination, ones not merely based on political dogma. Perhaps the basis for another article in due course?

Now it is the turn of the ladies and not wishing to labour the point, how different it might have been, had Cuban women been allowed to duck between the ropes and throw leather at a variety of world level opponents.

Since its inception in 2001 in Scranton, in the United States of America, there has been eight other “women’s worlds.”  Russia has set the standard and gained the most medals, 53 in total. China are next with 40;  then India with 28; followed by North Korea on 21; next come the great western democracies of Canada and the United States of America on 25 and 32 medals respectively. As with the men, these overall medal totals reflect success in strict gold, silver and bronze order. Next up are Turkey on 22, Kazakhstan with 14; then the Republic of Ireland on 7. England/ UK have amassed 11 between them. Italy and France are next on 10 medals each; then come Hungary on 19, Ukraine with 18 and Sweden with 11. As with the male competitors, the countries listed in the women’s section, are not exclusive or indeed exhaustive to medal winning, nor is it intended for them to be so.

Ireland’s, lightweight Katie Taylor, is without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest woman boxer, so far, produced by our western boxing powers – with five world golds and a bronze. She is only just “topped” by India’s very assured and impressive Mary Kom with five golds and a silver.

England/UK have had success too with golds from middleweight, Savannah Marshall in 2012, she also captured bronze in 2016; and flyweight Nicola Adams finally  registering gold in 2016, after three silver efforts in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

Cuba

Strangely enough, only two Russians feature in the multiple gold medallists table. Irina Sinetskaya with three golds and one silver and one bronze and also Sofya Ochigava with two golds and also a silver and a bronze. Two Canadians, perhaps a little surprisingly are in the same list of the “good and great women exponents of the noble art”- Mary Spencer with three golds and a bronze and Ariane Fortin-Brochu with two golds, one silver and also one bronze. Italian Simona Galassi racked up three golds, as did Ren Cancan for China. Landing two golds were Hungarian Mari Kovacs, who also bagged two silver and one bronze, while Sweden’s Anna Laurell can claim similar medal credentials, notably two gold, one silver and one bronze.

Russia, no longer a communist state, variously described as a federal semi-presidential republic, seems to be conquering the world with its women leading the medal table. Again it is difficult to gauge how much affect their current political ideology has on their sporting prowess, save to say that the Russian Federation is very keen to show the world; not least the west, what it can in certain sporting fields, achieve with full state sponsorship. Sporting success is the one of the emblems of Russian achievement and dominance. It is certainly doing just that, so maybe the shift from a hard line communist state to its present day environment has been beneficial at least in the roped square. This is certainly worthy of continuing debate.

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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THE Development championship finals took place from October 28-29. For a ringside report don’t miss this week’s issue of Boxing News magazine. Here are the finals results:

October 28 finals: 40: Salmon Tanvir (Gladiators) outpd Kai Owen (Parson Cross) split, Harry O’Grady (Hall Green) outpd by Josh Taylor (Kirkby) unan. 44: Javan Dosunmu (St Mary’s) outpd Thomas Musker (Birkenhead Venture) unan, Jennifer Beech (Kirkby) outpd by Rebecca Unsworth (Wildcard) unan. 46: George Cheeseman (Bodyshots) outpd Lewis Simpson (Hockley) split. 48: Billy Adams (Dagenham) outpd Nick Sanderson (Bilton Hall) unan, Charan Singh (Retford) outpd by Alex Moore (Aston) unan, Maria Connan (Left Hook) outpd Ella Morgan (UKAF) unan.. 50: Amelia Jarvis (Mayflower) outpd Leah Gunton (Fitzpatricks). 52: Oliver Killestkein (The Ring) outpd by Rizwam Aslam (Purge) split. 54: Charlie Castle (Salisbury) outpd by Reece Delaney (Northside) unan, Niamh McGuckin (Berinsfield) outpd Tracey Webber (Northside) unan. 56: Josh Frain (Army) outpd by Jack Cooper (Centurions) unan.57: Hayley Forbes (Arena) outpd by Isra Hale (Blackbird Leys) unan, Kamille Poskauskyte (Harrow) outpd by Dione Trigg (Braunstone GG) split. 60: Jake Massey (The Ring) outpd Ryan Jones (Exhall) unan, Natalie Coles (UKAF) outpd by Michelle Cox (Boston) unan, Shabir Haidire (The Factory) outpd Joshua Hargreaves (Purge) unan, Andres Manuel Lopez (Fisher) outpd by Cole Johnson (Orme) unan.. 63: Jilly Jean Newton-Westlake (Intense) outpd Martina McDonagh (East Middlesborough). 64: Clarissa Rougier (Dagenham) outpd Katie Smith (Gosport) unan, Dean Allumn (New Astley) outpd Lewis Foulks (Transport). 69: Timon Asiama (Cuban BA) outpd by Harry Freeman (Wayne Elcocks) split, Carrie Roberts (UKAF) outpd by Omarah Taylor (Firewalker) unan, Monika Duda (Amalgamated) outpd Jessica Lelliott (Bennys) unan.. 70: Tony Baker (Crawley) outpd Jack Edge (Jimmy Egans) split, Jon O’Donnell (Hooks) outpd Nathan Gransbury (District Youth) split. 75: Keenan Dallimore (Blackbird Leys) outpd Ewen McKenzie (Bilton Hall) split, Tia Davie (Barrow) outpd by Ileana Ingram (Aston) unan, Nick Wright (Army) outpd by David Thompson (Golden Gloves) unan. 80: Mateusz Berenznicki (Gosport) outpd Mike McGinley (Kirkby) unan. 86: Kheron Gilpin (Miguels) outpd Marvin Tomlinson (Jimmy Egans) split, Leon Nihell (Army) outpd by Mark Burke (Perth Green) unan. 80&: Hunzla Humzah (High Wycombe) outpd by Callum Basso (Whitehaven & District) unan. 91&: Josh Woods (Army) stpd Alex Bloomer (Collyhurst & Moston).

October 29 finals: 42: Kody Mellars (Westside) outpd by Ben Anderson (Roy Richardson’s) split. 44: Ryan Gooderson (Rumbles) outpd by Lenny Neal (Billericay) split. 46: Ibrahim Kola (Metro) outpd Chris Hughes (Long Lane) unan. 50: Bailey Gibson (CSM) outpd by Philip Gavin (Birtley) split. 51: Isra El-Braway (All Stars) outpd by Stevie Pitt (Wayne Elcocks) unan. 52: Adam Zeroual (St Pancras) outpd by Harvey Ashcroft (Leigh) unan, Scott Miller (CSM) outpd Alfie Hargreaves (Clayton) split, Jake Fallon (Whitley) outpd by Jacob Finch (Cleary’s) split. 54: Hannah Windsor (Weston Warriors) outpd by Georgina Friswell (Chalvedon) unan, 54: Umer Khan (Repton) outpd Sam Graves (Kingston) unan. 56: Connor Holloway (Attleborough) outpd by Colliston Edwards (St Peters) split. 57: Shai Sommerville (Repton) outpd Jay Brough (Birtley) unan, Madeline Morgan (Beartown) outpd Georgia Keast (Tamworth) split, Billy Forbes (Billericay) outpd by Dennis Smith (Worcester City) unan, Sunni Torgman (Islington) outpd Natalia Rok (Evolve) unan. 60: Steve McDonagh (Fairbairn) outpd by Campbell Hatton (Roy Richardson’s) unan, Amy Pu (Islington) stpd by Magdalena Olsztynska (Banbury). 63: Martin McDonagh (Fairbairn) outpd by John Smith (SYD) split, Orlagh Berry (Double Jab) stpd Gracie Dingle (Battlebridge). 64: Lucy Kisielewska (Eastbourne) outpd by Shauna Jerrold (St Vincents) split, Alston Ryan (Repton) outpd by Levi Kinsiona (Steel City) unan, Aaron Prospere (HOP) outpd by Nick Leahy (Fitzpatrick’s) split.. 66: Tommy Rogerson (Harlow) outpd by Malachy Imeson (Henrys) unan, Harvinder Bansal (Fairbairn) stpd by CJ Cope (Bad Boyz). 69: Alfie Winter (Battlebridge) outpd by Conah Walker (Merridale) split. 70: Ellouise Challenger (Downend) stpd Loletta Spencer (Wellingborough). 75: Tommy Fletcher (Attleborough) stpd Thomas Spaven (Hunslet), Tyreiq Campbell (Repton) outpd Caine Round (Merridale) split, Charlotte Briant (Islington) outpd Storm Steele (Spire BA) unan. 80&: Thomas Brunn (Yate) outpd Tom Moore (Mick Wale) unan. 81: Zoltan Csanadi (All Stars) outpd David Butlin (Tamworth) split, Lauren Morris (Moulescombe) stpd Aneta Sobotka (Jewellery Qtr), Timon Douglin (Whitley) stpd by Marcin Lewicki (MTK).. 91: Jamie Smith (Evolve) outpd Mariusz Piwowar (Leamington Spa) split, Nathan Francis (Whitley) outpd by Lee Greaves (Darlington) unan. 91&: Harvey Dykes (Whitehawk) outpd by Delicious Iwuchukwu (Jewellery Qtr) split.

 

October 26, 2017
October 26, 2017
Muhammad Ali

Greg Woodward/GB Boxing

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TEAM GB boxer Muhammad Ali is facing a long ban after testing positive for a steroid in April, the sport’s international federation AIBA has confirmed.

The positive test came during a World Series of Boxing match between the British Lionhearts and Morocco Atlas Lions in Casablanca and he has been provisionally suspended since May.

A silver medallist at the 2014 World Youth Championships and 2016 European Championships, Ali lost in the first round of the flyweight competition at the Rio Olympics last year.

Muhammad Ali represented Great Britain in Rio
Muhammad Ali represented Great Britain in Rio (Rui Vieira/PA)

The 21-year-old Yorkshireman is highly rated by GB Boxing and is currently the top-ranked fighter in his World Series of Boxing division.

In a statement on the AIBA website, the international federation announced his provisional suspension and said it would not make any further comment until an AIBA anti-doping panel has heard Ali’s case. No date has been set for that yet.

It is understood that Ali asked for his B sample, which is used to confirm an initial finding, to be tested and that also came back positive for trace amounts of the steroid.

In a statement released to Press Association Sport, GB Boxing said it can confirm a member of its squad has tested positive for a banned substance and the boxer has been suspended from the programme and all competition pending the outcome of the process.

It added: “This is the first time that a member of the GB Boxing squad has tested positive for a banned substance.

“GB Boxing is committed to clean sport and we work in partnership with UK Anti-Doping and our international federation to provide extensive education and support to our boxers on anti-doping rules, the anti-doping obligations upon them as athletes and the importance of adhering to the principles of clean sport.”

October 12, 2017
October 12, 2017
AIBA

Action Images

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THE president of AIBA, the governing body for Olympic boxing, Dr. Ching Kuo Wu has been provisionally suspended from his position.

The Executive Committee of AIBA brought forward a motion of no confidence in the president due to financial mismanagement of the organisation. That motion will be voted on at an Extraordinary Congress, the date of which is to be confirmed. The Executive Committee also set up an Interim Management Committee but a court ruling in Switzerland left Dr. Wu in control ahead of the Extraordinary Congress. However this week AIBA’s Disciplinary Commission served the president with an immediate, provisional suspension from his duties after receiving a brief of complaint from 11 Executive Committee members.

In a statement the Disciplinary Committee said: “The DC received a Brief of Complaint on October 1 from eleven members of the AIBA Executive Committee alleging that AIBA President Wu has violated and continues to violate various provisions of AIBA’s Statutes and Codes. The Complaint requests provisional and immediate suspension of his rights as President of AIBA as he continuously exercises such rights to dismiss and appoint key individuals in AIBA in order to block any statutory right of the EC and of others.

“The Chairman of the Commission and the Commission panel assigned to this matter believe that the situation is urgent and require immediate provisional measures be ordered.

“Mr Wu is able to participate in any pending matter before the Commission in which he is a named as party. This interim suspension will be considered at the conclusion of the Commission’s proceedings on the Complaint case.

AIBA

“During the period of suspension, the office of the President of AIBA will be filled in accordance with AIBA Statutes and Bylaws which is now in undergoing process.”

The power struggle erupted over concerns over  loans from Hong Kong investment firm FCIT and from an Azerbaijan based company Benkons.

AIBA has also been under scrutiny after last Olympic boxing tournament and a series of controversial decisions which saw a host of officials suspended.

October 9, 2017
October 9, 2017
Galal Yafai

World Series of Boxing

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OLYMPIC boxing is a perilous game. As well as the vagaries of the draw in tournaments, of judging sometimes, there is additional uncertainty at present. AIBA, the world governing body, have indicated they will reduce the number of men’s weight divisions for Tokyo 2020 from 10 to eight, while increasing the number of women’s divisions from three to five. While creating further opportunities for female boxers is most welcome, it’s a drastic move to cut two established categories, especially more than a year after the Olympics when boxers have committed themselves to the next cycle. There has been no further clarity on what divisions might lose their Olympic status.

Galal Yafai is probably one of many uneasy light-flyweights. “If you look at my weight, 49kgs, nearly every person that went to the Olympics and won a medal is still there now. They don’t really go pro, do they, at my weight,” he tells Boxing News.

“Look at the other weights, a lot of them have gone, Olympic champions have gone pro, or the silver medallists have moved on. It’s a bit unfair if they get rid of my weight now when 49 kilos are the most loyal to AIBA. They stay, don’t they? It’s a bit unfair if they got rid of 49kgs. They could change it to 50 kilos or 51. I’ve just got to go with whatever happens really,” he speculated.

The light-flyweight division has retained the gold, silver and one bronze medallist from Rio 2016. “It’s just a case of waiting and seeing,” Yafai mused. “It would be a bit unfair on 49s because they’re the most loyal to AIBA and they’re the ones that stay amateur for longest.

“We’ll just have to see what happens and I’ll just have to adjust to whatever the weight is and go from there really.”

In international amateur boxing you have to be adaptable. Yafai performed excellently in the final of the European championships against Russia’s Vasilii Egorov but did not get the decision. “I thought the judging was a bit weird. Three judges had it 29-28 to him and then two judges had it 27-30 to me and 25-30 to me! It was just a bit weird, I don’t get it all. It’s amateur boxing. I was gutted but I thought I won,” Galal said. “When I found it really mattered was when I went to the Worlds. That potentially could have got me a seeding, becoming European champion. At the time I was gutted but I could move on from it and try and put it right at the Worlds but when I got to the Worlds I didn’t get seeded. Eight boxers got seeded and I wasn’t one of them. Which I wasn’t surprised by but I knew if I’d become European champion I would have got a seed. It could have been the difference between getting a medal.”

Galal Yafai
Greg Woodward/GB Boxing

In his second contest at the World championships in Hamburg Gamal was drawn against Colombia’s Olympic silver medallist Yurberjen Martinez. “The Cuban [Joahnys Argilagos] was World champion before and now he’s two time World champion but for me fighting the Colombian was a lot harder, he was so strong,” Galal said. “There’s a boxer out there who’s stronger than me and I’ve got to use other skills to beat him.

“I can get away with it with kids who are going to try and box me and try and nick it off me. When I come up against someone who’s stronger than me, it’s like what do I do now? I’ve had 41 fights now, I’ve been to the Olympics, Europeans and now the Worlds and I’ve never come up against someone that’s stronger than me and that is going to push me back. I was like what’s going on here now? I’ve never had that before. Which is kind of a surprise that I’ve never had that before,” he said. “But it shows how relatively inexperienced I am because I’ve never come up against someone like that. It’s all learning from now on.”

October 6, 2017
October 6, 2017
Audley Harrison

Action Images/Reuters/Murad Sezer

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IF Audley Harrison didn’t win that gold medal in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, I 100% guarantee that British boxing wouldn’t be where it is today.

That gold medal was the reason boxing got funding from the National Lottery. Straight after the 2000 games, Britain put together their eight-year training “world class boxing program”.

This provided boxing with the funding required to hire national trainers and bring all national champions together to be able to train, travel and fight. They put a lot of money and attention into the 14-16-year-old champions and placed them on the plan – I was one of them.

At that age, by the end of the eight-year plan, the fighters would be aged 22-24. That’s a peak age for amateur boxers to compete in the Olympics and they were aiming for the 2008 Beijing Games.

With this money, they could send us around the world to give us the experience of fighting champions from different countries, which we needed if we were hoping to bring any medals back from Beijing.

In 2001, I was picked for the European Cadet championships and was part of a full team. I managed to win a gold medal and I was told at the time that this also helped boxing justify that their world-class training program was working.

We were traveling around the world getting some great results. A few years later, a 16-year-old national champion went to the junior world championships and won gold. That, of course, was Amir Khan.

He was put on the program, received the experience of fighting around the world, and in 2004, went to the Athens Games and won a silver medal. Without Audley’s money, would this have happened? As talented as Amir was, without that international experience that was paid for by this funding, I don’t think it would have.

It’s was kind of a snowball effect; the more they invested in us, the better results GB achieved.

In 2008, I won an Olympic bronze, as did David Price, and James Degale won gold. At the time I think this was the most success GB ever had in an Olympic games. Then 2012 saw Anthony Joshua, Luke Campbell, and Nicola Adams all winning gold medals in London, with Fred Evans getting silver and Anthony Ogogo a bronze.

audley harrison

At the Rio Olympics, we had nearly a full team qualify, with lives being changed all the time for all of us Olympians. Professional British boxing is now saturated with world class fighters that have benefited from this amateur boxing funding. This is all the way up to the current day and if you look at how well GB boxing has done since Audley won that gold medal compared to before 2000, I think everyone who is involved with British boxing will realize they have something to thank Audley Harrison for – I know I have!

Listen to my Box ‘N Life podcast where I talk everything boxing & life HEREhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/box-n-life-podcast-life-in-out-of-the-gym/id924241760?mt=2&i=1000392621239