Tuesday , 18 June 2024

The Olympic Boxing is now living the new era by Apostolos Matsaridis

Boxing is one of the most exciting and well known sports, worldwide. It is widely practiced in all continents starting from grassroots and reaching elite levels. It requires almost zero equipment and can be practiced individually, in pairs or in class. You can practice boxing in a small room or in an Olympic Hall, at the peak of a mountain or by the sea, for fun, health or even to compete for a medal.

It is also one of the sports governed by more than one entities and the main reason is the differences between the Olympic and the Professional boxing. Differences in the rules, differences in the governance and more importantly the aspect of professional athletes. Undoubtedly, Olympic and professional athletes train the same hard, undergo the same stress, face the same risks, need to have the same courage, passion and dedication. The International Boxing Association (AIBA) is the governing body for the Olympic Sport of Boxing.

The last decade was a decade of transformations. The sport world has vastly changed, the emerge of technology, the boom of the social media and the reach of internet in many more households (and now cellphones) has created a new model. Therefore, a new approach was essential for the promotion of the sport; the spectacle, the values, the way the sport itself is engaging the existing fans and attracts new ones.

Did you ever imagine boxing as a team sport? Most probably no. That was an initiative takes by AIBA, creating the World Series of Boxing (WSB); Franchise of nation-teams and a league where those teams compete in pairs and the athletes gain points for the team. It is a seasonal league and on the final the champion team will be announced. That was an innovation creating engagement throughout the season letting fans follow the news, the stats and even watch those bouts online through the website.

What about professional boxing? One of the biggest issues in the sport where elite athletes found themselves ahead of a dead-end; Should I go “pro” or pursue an Olympic medal? Given that any athlete’s career does not last forever that was a crucial choice. AIBA then launched a new option, the Pro-Boxing (APB). It was launched in 2014 and for the first time boxers can turn professional and still preserve their eligibility to compete at the Olympic Games.

Gender and Boxing? Indeed, boxing was perceived as a male sport despite the fact that many women compete and even more chose it as part of their daily workout. The story goes back to 1904’s Olympic games as a demonstration whereas the London Olympics were the first to produce 12 Olympic Gold medalists.

The aforementioned initiatives along with some others such as the AIBA World Boxing Academy, the ongoing training of the AIBA officials as well as the #headsup project are among the factors that prove the professional steps taken the past years. Those are reforms that take time and resources to plan and execute. The fact that they are already launched is a promising factor that the future of Boxing is bright. It will be more spectacular, spread in all corners of the world, reaching out without considering gender, social status or nationality, creating a fertile ground for further development and new, even more impactful and exciting projects.

About Apostle Matsaridis

Apostolos Matsaridis is Physical Education Teacher (MSc) and Sports Manager

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