Effective October 19, 2012, AIBA (the international federation for boxing) has declared all USA Boxing amateur boxing activities suspended until January 19, 2013. This includes not only amateur competitions, but also USA Boxing sanctioned events such as coaching clinics and most worrisome, insurance for clubs.
The decision was made due to USA Boxing deciding not to remove Hal Adonis from the Board of Directors after he made controversial statements. AIBA feels that the non-removal of Adonis obliquely implies that USA Boxing endorses his statements.
"I thinks it's a little ridiculous that it came to this," states amateur boxer Madeline Guzman. "USA Boxing had time to decide what to do to avoid this. AIBA advised USA Boxing of the penalties before they took place and yet it seems it was taken lightly. Now, we have an entire nation of boxers who can't get in the ring due to this issue when I'm sure there was a better way to handle all if this. We, the boxers have to equally suffer the consequences, it just doesn't make sense."
The suspension terms given to USA Boxing by AIBA were also listed in an email that was sent out to members. Further communications regarding the handling of the issue can be found on USA Boxing's website. The list published in that email is as follows:
The AIBA suspension terms are:
1. USA Boxing shall be fully suspended for a period of 3 months from October 19, 2012
2. Mr. Adonis shall pay a fine of CHF 2,000 and be suspended from all boxing activities at national
and international levels, for 2 years starting from October 19, 2012.
3. The costs of the proceedings, fixed at CHF 1,500, shall be borne equally between USA Boxing
and Mr. Adonis.
4. The decision will be communicated to USA Boxing, Mr. Adonis (via Hollie L Wieland of Karp
Neu Hanlon Attorneys) and to the Headquarters of AIBA.
"This is completely ridiculous," declares amateur boxing coach and retired professional boxer Rita Figueroa. "AIBA and USA Boxing could have handled this much differently. The goal for both is supposed to be to do whats best for the boxers, [but] they could care less about them and only have their [federations'] best interests in mind. AIBA wants to take over everything and this is just their first step in doing so."
Cornerman Greg Znajda brings up another affect of the suspension that could possibly be the most damaging to the amateur boxing community. "Since this cancels all insurance including insurance during training, all gyms that use USA Boxing insurance will have to close."
Boxing gyms that have no other income aside from boxers and no other form of insurance coverage may well have to shut their doors for three months. This may cause membership issues which the clubs will have to address in an already tight economy.
"To me it sounds like the time is right for the USOC to mandate a change for another organization to take over for USA Boxing," says Znajda. "Also why doesn't the membership wake up and file a class action lawsuit against the board? Mandate that the entire board resign and appoint a new board. Legally it may be frivolous but the press it receives will be useful."
The email that went out to members today declares that USA Boxing will keep it's members informed and are awaiting communication for AIBA in case of further demands. They state that they will inform members in the event that they are able to take steps to shorten the suspension.
Regardless of the issue at stake or how it was handled, one issue does seem clear; no boxers were at fault. Yet the boxers are the ones who will ultimately suffer due to the actions of two federations purportedly constructed to protect and guide them.