Amateur Boxing’s Disgrace
by Yossi Goldstein
The International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) came down heavily this week on USA Boxing, officially handing down sanctions to the amateur boxing commission, and suspended – effective immediately – all amateur boxing fights and scheduled events for the next three months.
If you were planning on attending any of the upcoming Brooklyn Brawl events – including last night’s – with Dmitriy Salita, one bad apple has ruined it for everyone, says AIBA.
The suspension was enacted in response to incendiary comments made by former USA Boxing president, and current board member, Hal Adonis.
Adonis’ offensive statements were made to the New Yorker magazine that homosexuality runs rampant in female boxing, and that boxers are more likely to succeed in the sport if they were abused as children.
AIBA contacted USA Boxing and told them to resolve the issue and immediately remove Adonis from the board for defaming AIBA, the sport of boxing, and doing more than just verbal harm to minority groups in the sport.
While USA Boxing did remove Hal from his role as president, he was allowed to remain on the board of directors.
USA Boxing’s Executive Director, Anthony Bartkowski, sent out the following to his Board of directors:
USA Boxing just received notification from AIBA, the international federation for boxing, that all amateur boxing activities in the United States are immediately suspended. The suspension cancels all sanctioned competitions; coach and official clinics; boxing club activities; membership registrations; and insurance coverage.
The AIBA Disciplinary Commission levied this suspension against the organization for inappropriate and improper statements made by Mr. Hal Adonis earlier this year.
The AIBA Disciplinary Commission Decision of October 19, 2012 states:
“By failing to remove Mr. Adonis from the USA Boxing Board of Directors when it had the chance to do so, USA Boxing, in essence, endorsed Mr. Adonis’ statements and sent out a message that such behavior was acceptable. The action (or lack thereof) and the very serious and harmful nature of Mr. Adonis statements, has jeopardized boxing and the Panel finds it appropriate to impose a suspension upon USA Boxing. This suspension must reflect the severity of the offence.”
This isn’t Adonis’s first violation either – his most recent egregious action was failure to name a boxing coach for Team USA more than 100 days before the London Games.
The problem here really is with USA Boxing and its allowance to “pass the buck” onto the ones who are actually biting the bullet: the amateur boxers and the kids who rely on such programs to keep them off the streets.
Indeed, USA Boxing has many holes that need to be filled, and this certainly is a step in the right direction by AIBA to make certain that becomes a reality. After the past Olympic Games, where there was controversy abound with AIBA and its handling of various situations, something had to be done to the sinking ship that is USA Boxing.
However, it will be at least three months before the ones who are really going to suffer, Salita and others like him who are trying to help youth in their communities through amateur events such as Brooklyn Brawl, will be allowed to trade the streets for the ring. That is the saddest part of all.