LAUSANNE from Switzerland
The line between amateur and professional boxing blurred again on Thursday, with the International Boxing Association offering for the first time cash prizes of up to $ 100,000 at the historically amateur men’s world championships.
The AIBA said a total fund of $ 2.6 million was in place to reward medalists in each category, with $ 100,000 for gold, $ 50,000 for silver and $ 25,000 for the. bronze. The men’s championships will be held in Belgrade, Serbia, from October 24 to November 6.
The AIBA did not immediately respond to a question from The Associated Press about its intention to have cash prizes at the women’s world championships. This event is scheduled for this year but does not have a venue or dates listed on the AIBA competition calendar.
“This is the first time that AIBA has financially rewarded world championship medalists, and that is how it should be,” said AIBA President Umar Kremlev. “This money is well deserved considering the years of preparation necessary to win a place. to the best AIBA tournament and the hard work. “
The move could help AIBA rally boxers’ support as it attempts to lift its suspension from the International Olympic Committee. The IOC demanded reforms after questioning how AIBA was handled following numerous judging disputes in previous Olympics, and it barred AIBA from playing a role in organizing the tournaments at this year’s Tokyo Games.
AIBA removed the word “amateur” from its name in 2007 and held its first event with cash prizes the following year. It also allowed boxers to fight in some professional fights while maintaining their Olympic eligibility. Albert Batyrgaziev of Russia became the first professional boxer to win an Olympic gold medal this year.
The distribution of cash prizes marks a change for AIBA in another way. The struggling governing body has had serious financial problems due to loans and unsuccessful attempts to gain a foothold in the lucrative world of professional boxing by launching AIBA-branded professional competitions. Shortly after Kremlev was elected president of AIBA in December, he called on Russian state gas company Gazprom as a main sponsor.