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Don King joins fight to block pro boxers from the Olympics

Hall of Fame promoter Don King has joined fellow promoter Gary Shaw, as well as WBC President Jose Sulaiman and the NABF, EBU, BBBofC, ABCO and ABU in condemning plans for the AIBA and IOC to allow AIBA-affiliated professional boxers to compete in the 2016 Olympics.

Below are the official statements from the various parties, as well as a AIBA response.

July 19, 2013

Don King Remarks on International Olympic Committee’s Proposed Changes

Don King is a proud American and the people’s promoter. “I am a promoter of the people, by the people, and for the people; and my magic lies in my people ties.”

“In the interests of the people, I totally reject the notion of pitting professional fighters against amateur fighters. I am frightened, shocked and appalled that the AIBA and the IOC could support such a harmful policy against human interest and public interest. I strongly advise that the AIBA and the IOC dismiss their efforts to emasculate the boxers in their monopolistic practices and circumnavigate the boxing organizations and the professional promoters, giving the AIBA and the IOC veiled control over the sport of boxing, competitive wise, as well as business wise, under the so called auspices of ‘we are doing the best thing for the athlete (boxer).’ I am prayerful and hopeful that they change their minds.”

Why should the AIBA and the IOC, who have done such magnificent work on behalf of amateur athletes, subject themselves to the villainy associated with monopolistic practices? (i.e. corruption, political influence, economical exploitations, restraint of trade, usurpation of freedom of choice, health endangerment, public scandal, and embarrassment).

The first item in their Mission Statement reads:

· To encourage and support the promotion of ethics in sport as well as education of youth through sport and to dedicate its efforts to ensuring that, in sport, the spirit of fair play prevails and violence is banned.
And continues with:
· To encourage and support measures protecting the health of athletes;
· To oppose any political or commercial abuse of sport and athletes;
· To encourage and support the efforts of sports organizations and public authorities to provide for the social and professional future [EMPHASIS ADDED] of athletes;
This humanly sensitive, and fundamentally supportive statement, dedicated to encouragement, education, health, and the spirit of fair play in our youth, which is the essence of the Olympic goal, is completely contradicted and violated by this egregious policy.

“I am extremely concerned by the commandeering of those participating in the Olympics by the AIBA. Their policy demanding that participants sign exclusive PROFESSIONAL contracts with AIBA in order to participate in the Olympics is tantamount to monopoly, coercion and restraint of trade. Where is the equity in taking away the fundamental right of choice and mandating that in order to participate in the Olympics the participants must sign an EXCLUSIVE LIFETIME CONTRACT with the AIBA as opposed to exploring any and all available opportunities?”

Olympic participation is a dream come true for so many young amateur talented athletes, from around the world, who don’t have the ability or maturity to make adult decisions regarding their professional careers at their tender age. They aspire to represent their country, mounting the Olympic podium, and receiving an Honorable Olympic Medal to bring home.

The AIBA and the IOC, for the past century, have had a mission overseeing amateur boxers for safety, ethics, honor, and the spirit of fair play; banning violence. Now, today, unfortunately, AIBA’s new policy runs completely counter to the integrity of the past century’s mission. While it is accepted in team sports such as basketball and football, professionals and amateurs competing together and against other teams, at best, it can result in an upset, amateurs beating the professionals; or at worst, it can result in an embarrassing score by the professionals over the amateurs. But in boxing, it is man to man. There is no upside; and the downside has GRAVE implications: a professional boxer fighting an amateur boxer removes all safety, and absolutely contradicts your edict of banning violence by promoting violence, which could result in a career ending injury, paralysis, or death.

Don King is not alone in his position. According to Dr. Allan Fields, who is a leading ringside physician and one of the most highly recognized certified ringside physicians in the world, “This is ludicrous! By definition alone, an amateur is one who engages in a pursuit, or a study, or a science for a sport, as a past time rather than a profession. On the other hand, a professional, by definition, is a highly talented experienced expert, who receives money, and does this for a living.” Dr. Fields continues, “You’re upsetting the balance if you let a highly experienced person fight against an amateur who is certainly not a professional and is lacking experience. Therefore, the IOC’s first rule is broken, which is the safety of the fighters. No safety of a fighter can be guaranteed when you place a professional fighter in the ring with an amateur fighter. In order for them to try to equal the scales, it should be one professional vs. another professional in the Olympics. Even so, it’s no longer the Olympics; instead, it’s just another boxing show.” Dr. Fields is also the Vice Chairman of the Association of Professional Ring Side Physicians and one of its founders, a member and a Medical Advisor of Florida Boxing Hall of Fame, the former Chairman of Medical Advisory Council of the Florida Athletic Commission, the Chief Physician of the International Kickboxing Federation, and the Chief Physician of Florida Gold Coast Boxing and Martial Arts.

Don King concludes, “Again, I strongly urge the AIBA and the IOC to take heed to the wisdom of the Honorable Lord Acton, ‘Power corrupts and Absolute power corrupts absolutely!’ This policy is not only implausible; it is immoral, harmful and highly dangerous!”

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June 30, 2013

AIBA Statement against the accusations of non-AIBA pro boxing organizations

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) strongly defends its position and images tarnished by non-AIBA pro boxing organizations in regard to the Olympic Games.

As defined in Chapter 1, Point 6 of the Olympic Charter, the Olympic Games “are competitions between athletes in individual or team events and not between countries. They bring together all athletes selected by their respective National Olympic Committees (NOCs), whose entries have been accepted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). They compete under the technical direction of the International Federations (IFs) concerned.”

This definition means that the IOC recognizes one IF in each sport and accepts all athletes and officials for the Olympic Games according to the rules and regulations of this IF being also the world governing body of this sport.

As everyone is aware, AIBA is the only world governing body of the sport of boxing recognized by the IOC and AIBA’s mission and role as the governing body of the sport of boxing and in the Olympic Movement are well stated in the Olympic Charter as:

“The mission and role of the IFs within the Olympic Movement are: to establish and enforce, in accordance with the Olympic spirit, the rules concerning the practice of their respective sports and to ensure their application; (…) to establish their criteria of eligibility for the competitions of the Olympic Games in conformity with the Olympic Charter, and to submit these to the IOC for approval.” (Olympic Charter – Chapter 3, Point 26).

Therefore, it is an absolutely unchanged fact that all Olympic athletes will have to follow the Olympic Qualifying Guidelines which should also be approved by the IOC once proposed by the IF.

Throughout the last decades, the Olympic Movement has gone through a number of changes in order to further spread the Olympic spirit across the globe. As a result, after the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, the IOC decided that professional athletes could be eligible for the Olympic Games, subject to approval of the IFs. Until now, only professional boxers and wrestlers are not allowed to compete in the Olympic Games.

Following its reform process which started in 2007, AIBA set its mission as “governing the sport of boxing in all its forms worldwide”. Based on this mission, AIBA strongly committed itself to bring the sport of boxing to another level through positive development initiatives after AIBA received unanimous demands from all AIBA National Member Federations, boxers and officials. In addition, this was also the result of a demand from the public and commercial markets which really would like to see more transparent and life-long caring programs for boxers.

AIBA has transformed its rules and competitions based on three different tiers. The Amateur competitions now called AIBA Open Boxing (AOB), the Semi-Pro team competition called the World Series of Boxing (WSB) launched 4 years ago, then ultimately, AIBA has launched a real pro boxing individual competition called AIBA Pro Boxing (APB).

For the first time in history, the Individual Champions of the World Series of Boxing participated in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Now, as a step further from the WSB, APB will become the first and only individual ranking competition in the history of boxing allowing its pro boxers to compete whilst retaining their Olympic eligibility and maintaining their membership status in their National Federations. It represents a safe career plan for AIBA athletes, providing them with a transparent development path, with protection and financial stability.

AIBA came out with this proposal following a long and deep analysis of the current situation of the global boxing market. The main goal of this groundbreaking competition program is to protect boxers throughout their entire career, from grassroots to the pinnacle of their pro career. This is why, in order to be eligible for APB, boxers should remain within their National Federations and thus under the AIBA Family following the AIBA Technical Rules and APB Competition Rules.

The non-AIBA pro boxing organizations are currently accusing the above-mentioned Olympic Movement system. However, AIBA has already opened its doors to all boxers competing under the regulations of these organizations to join APB following the APB eligibility criteria. As APB will officially begin its competition next year, time is running out for these boxers for whom the window will be opened until the end of this year.

AIBA understands the dreams and hopes of current professional boxers to compete in the Olympic Games. However, we also hope that they will understand the time and efforts all AIBA boxers have given through their entire career. Certainly, they will not want to lose the opportunity and their status of being loyal members of the AIBA Family for many years.

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June 26, 2013

Gary Shaw Supports WBC’s Stance Against AIBA’s Rule To Have Professional Boxer At Olympics

Promoter Gary Shaw is standing behind Jose Sulaiman and the WBC’s stance against AIBA (International Amateur Boxing Association) and its ruling to have professional boxers at the Olympic Games.

“I would like to respectfully inform you that the WBC has expressed its opposition to the monopoly to be instituted at the Olympic Games, by a ruling of AIBA to have professional boxers at the Olympics, but exclusively with those that have signed for AIBA, no one else.” said Suliman.

“They have also publicly expressed that they will not allow in the future having promoters of professional boxing, sign Olympic fighters. They claim that professional promoters come to sign boxers using their Olympic medals to take them for their promotions to exploit them.” Suliman concluded.

“As a promoter in professional boxing, I’m disturbed by the ruling come forth by the AIBA and its decision to have professional boxers at the Olympics. All fighters who have come from the amateur ranks try to achieve the goal of becoming an Olympian to represent their respective country. That dream will now die with professional boxers being able to compete in the Olympics.” stated Shaw.

“It appears to me that the AIBA wants to have a strangle hold on the sport of boxing.” Shaw continued. “The AIBA has no right to exclude any professional boxing promoter from singing an Olympic fighter. We promoters go to great lengths and take enormous risks to promote our fighters in hopes they become stars in the sport. Olympic boxing should be solely for amateur competition and all fighters should have the right to pursue the professional career as they see fit, once their amateur career is over.”

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June 18, 2013

African Boxing Union Press Release

The African Boxing Union (ABU), through the offices of President Houcine Houichi,
is expressing its protest against the proposals of AIBA to admit professional boxing into the
Olympic Games.

The ABU and its affiliated boxing commissions in Africa believe that amateur boxing needs full support from all the countries, and particularly the emerging and underdeveloped countries.

The ABU support the World Boxing Council (WBC) and all other organizations
who object to the project of AIBA accepting professional boxers into the Olympic Games.

Only amateur boxers should be admitted.

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June 14, 2013

At the recent monthly meeting taking place in Cardiff on June 12th, the Stewards/Directors
of the British Boxing Board of Control decided to support the World Boxing Council and
the European Boxing Union in protesting against the proposal of AIBA to admit
Professional Boxing into the Olympic Games, to the possible detriment of Amateur
Boxing Worldwide.

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June 13, 2013

The NABF stands by the WBC on its protests against AIBA

The North American Boxing Federation (NABF), through the offices of President Joseph Dwyer, is expressing its full support of the protests against AIBA and the IOC, as put forward by the WBC and other boxing organizations.

The NABF, with an infrastructure of professional boxing national commissions in the United States, Mexico and Canada, believe that amateur boxing needs support from all the countries of the world and should not be put aside, like AIBA is allegedly doing at the Olympic Games. Boxing in general would not exist without amateur boxing.?

The NABF strongly objects to having professional boxing at the Olympic Games, because all the under-developed countries would be at a distinct disadvantage, as well as being exposed to safety issues inherent in the sport of boxing. In boxing, athletes punch each other and might get hurt if a non-experienced boxer is fighting against a professional. The NABF will stand by the WBC and all other institutions and people who object to AIBA using the Olympic Games for professional boxers.

We respectfully but strongly request AIBA not to proceed to his ruling, and the IOC not to accept it for the fatalities that might occur.

Sincerely,

Joseph Dwyer
President

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June 10, 2013.

ABCO will stand by the WBC

The Asian Boxing Council, through the offices of Pol. General Kovid Bhakdibhumi, from Thailand,is expressing its full support of the protests against AIBA and the IOC, as put forward by the WBC and other boxing organisations.

The Asian Boxing Council with an infrastructure of professional boxing national commissions in Asia, believe that amateur boxing needs support from all the countries of the world and should not be put aside, like AIBA is allegedly doing at the Olympic Games, as boxing in general would not exist without amateur boxing.The Asian Boxing Council with an infrastructure of professional boxing national commissions in Asia, believe that amateur boxing needs support from all the countries of the world and should not be put aside, like AIBA is allegedly doing at the Olympic Games, as boxing in general would not exist without amateur boxing.

ABCO strongly objects to have professional boxing at the Olympic Games, because all the under developed countries would be in a disadvantage, as well as being exposed against safety in the sport- In boxing, athletes punch each other and might get hurt if a non-experienced boxer is fighting against a professional. ABCO will stand by the WBC and all other institutions and people who object to AIBA using the Olympic Games for professional boxers.

We respectfully but strongly request AIBA not to proceed to his ruling and the IOC not to accept it for the fatalities that might occur.

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June 6, 2013.

EBU catagorically rejects pro boxers in the Olympics

The European Boxing Union totally rejects the admission of professional boxers into the Olympics.

At its International Convention in Vienna the EBU unanimously expressed its oppostion to this notion, as claimed by AIBA.

It also stipulated that amateur boxing needs support now more than ever.

The event was attended by 32 countries including Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Russia. The meeting was chaired by President Bob Logist of Belgium and the General Secretary, Enza Jacoponi from Italy.

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MAY 9, 2013

Press Release from the President of the WBC, Jose Sulaiman

The IOC president Mr. Jacques Rogge has not answered my very respectful request to know if the IOC supports AIBA’s attempts to impose monopoly, restraint of trade, and violation of the sovereignty of the nations by the exclusive rules being imposed on the sport of boxing by AIBA. The response allegedly sent by the IOC on the 12th of April is false, and no letter of response has actually been received by the WBC.

The president of AIBA, Mr. Ching-Kuo Wu sent to all its affiliated national federations a letter where he claims that the IOC president Mr. Rogge recognizes only AIBA and its absolute control over Olympic boxing, which would be a monopoly by having only professional boxers under contract with AIBA compete at the Olympic Games.

Monopoly is a violation of the antitrust laws in most countries of the world. This restraint of trade would take away the same right and opportunities from boxers with the same qualifications as AIBA’s boxers.

The dictatorial imposition of AIBA’s rules to be implemented to regulate the sport at the national federations is a violation of the sovereignty of each country and a lack of respect to all nations of the world and their sports ministers as well as to all boxing commissions.

In addition to all of the above, documents are in the hands of the WBC that show that AIBA is seeking 165 million Swiss francs in an offer to about 12 franchises to finance AIBA to promote professional boxing in no more than 8 specific countries. The proposal openly states its monopolistic intent to Leverage political power of AIBA as the governing body and sole access to the Olympic Games”.

The proposal allegedly presents Golden Boy Promotions as a joint venture and further a vendor of its ownership and endorsement of all its WBC and other world champions to AIBA, after which all WBC champions would have to step down from the WBC and join AIBA, getting away from the present professional boxing system. I met personally with the CEO of Golden Boy, Mr. Richard Schafer, who absolutely rejected any claim to having agreed to any deal with AIBA.

The WBC would ask Mr. Rogge to observe the for-profit AIBA, that would be based on wealthy investors, promoting in wealthy countries, while discriminating and seriously damaging the basis and foundations of world sports in third world and developing countries, where there is no or little professional boxing, which are most of the countries in the world.

The WBC is respectfully, once again, asking the president of the IOC to respond if it is behind AIBA in all those actions. It is the IOC and not AIBA which will accept or reject athletes participating at the Olympic Games. The WBC expects only amateurs to participate in them. If professionals will be accepted, we request the absolute respect to opportunities to all, regardless of institutions, race, religion or nationality. The WBC wants nothing else.

If there is no answer, respectable Mr. Rogge, the IOC and AIBA may together force legal proceedings not only from the WBC, but from those who feel damaged and all those who oppose monopoly in the world.




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