The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has accepted a controversial proposal to overhaul the qualifying system for boxing at the Paris Olympics in just over two and a half years.
At an executive meeting in Paris, the IOC also approved new weight classes in both the men’s and women’s tournaments.
For the first time ever there will be the same number of boxers in each category – 124 – although there will be one more weight class in the men – seven versus six.
Controversially, the legendary men’s middleweight division was dropped, but a new women’s bantamweight division was added.
The new blueprint was created by the ailing International Boxing Association (IBA), which is still officially outside the Olympic family and was not allowed to organize the boxing tournament at the Tokyo Games.
The IBA welcomes the IOC Executive Board’s decision to accept their proposal as a significant triumph for them.
They had been courting even more bad publicity in recent weeks by refusing to sever ties to giant Russian state-owned gas conglomerate Gazprom, whose dollars effectively keep the organization afloat.
The IOC will only decide next year whether the IBA can hold the tournament in Paris.
But the fact that its board has accepted the reform proposal is a positive sign that boxing will be staged at the Paris Games, regardless of who is chairing it.
However, the long-term future of the sport at the Olympic level remains in doubt.
Radical changes to the qualifying process are proposed, including the abolition of the traditional continental Olympic qualifying tournaments.
Although the details of the plan have not been released by the IOC or the IBA according to the original submission prepared by the latter, the qualification process begins on January 1, 2023.
The top eight boxers in each of the 13 Olympic weight classes will qualify for Paris on December 31, 2003.
Boxers will earn qualifying points in a new Golden Belt series to be conducted under the auspices of the IBA in 2023. The number of Golden Belt tournaments that will be held next year and the number of qualifying points awarded at each tournament have not been released.
The situation is further complicated when the IBA proposes that boxers from two different weight classes can earn qualifying points for one of the Olympic weight classes. So a 54 kg boxer could qualify for the 57 kg Olympic weight class.
After the first allocation of the Olympic places, there would be a second allocation on March 31, 2024, which in turn would be based on the ranking system.
However, the then highest ranking boxer – who had not previously qualified – from each continent (Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and Pan America) would be guaranteed a place
The bottom two spots in each category would be decided at a world qualifying tournament that would be held before May 2024. The two finalists in each category would receive an Olympic spot.
The agreed weight classes are:
Women 50kg, 54kg, 60kg, 66k and 75kg.
Men: 51 kg, 57 kg, 63.5 kg, 71 kg, 80 kg, 92 kg, +92 kg.
The good news for Ireland’s current Olympic champion, Kellie Harrington, is that nothing has changed in her lightweight category, where the weight limit remains at 60kg.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/boxing/boost-for-future-of-olympic-boxing-as-ioc-accepts-overhaul-of-qualifying-system-41516035.html Boost for future of Olympic boxing as IOC accepts overhaul of qualification system