Social media was ‘flooded’ late Saturday night/Sunday morning with ‘outraged’ fans of the sport condemning the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) for “banning” 12 years old Chloe Black from County Carlow from taking part on Finals night of the IABA 2019 Girl 1 to 6 National Championships.
First off was Chloe’s club, Tullow ABC, which posted this lengthy message on its Facebook site:
“Absolutely devastated ( Please share everyone) by what happened in the National Boxing Stadium tonight. A second potential national title was taken away from 12-year-old Chloe Black. There was a complaint made against Chloe because she partakes in another physical contact sport. There is a rule that was only brought to our attention today that no boxer is allowed to compete in any other contact sport.
We at Tullow Amateur Boxing Club knew nothing about this rule as Chloe has boxed for our club since Feb 2018 and we never made a secret of her competing in Muay Thai. Chloe has won major competitions for our club including the National final last year.
Chloe is a 12-year-old child who’s hard work, determination, and love of sport are a credit to her and to be told tonight that she was not allowed to fight has left us all heartbroken. Chloe was up in Dublin at 8 am weighing in for the competition and not a word was said about the complaint. We knew nothing until we were called up to the head table. WHOEVER COMPLAINED I HOPE YOU REALISE YOU SHATTERED A 12-YEAR-OLD GIRLS HEART AS SHE COULD HAVE BEEN THE NEXT KATIE TAYLOR, BUT SHE WILL NEVER EVER BOX AGAIN, AND TULLOW AMATEUR BOXING CLUB HAS LOST SOME OF ITS COACHES AS WE NEVER EVER WANT TO SEE A CHILD TREATED LIKE THIS EVER AGAIN. Levina and Anthony”
Strong words, and understandably so, yet is the IABA the ‘villain of the piece’ here or are these rules universal and laid down by the AIBA, the governing body of the ‘once amateur’ sport. ?
Clearly, this cannot be unique to Chloe Black’s sad situation and yet one of the country’s top clubs were unaware of the rule? That being so it seems more than likely that boxers in other countries are also ‘breaking the rules’ unknowingly – and in fact only on 16th May 2019, the IABA had published a notice which was addressed to ALL Provincial Councils & County Boards with a request that the information published be distributed to all clubs, club secretaries and other officials.
That document from IABA Honorary Secretary Art O’Brien, read as follows and appeared on the IABA.ie website:
“16th May 2019
TO: Provincial Councils and County Boards:
(Please circulate to all clubs in your area)
Re: Other Physical Contact Sports
AIBA Technical Rules prohibit any athlete from competing as a boxer while at the same time being a member of any other Physical Contact Sport. Also, the Rules lay down the procedures to be followed if any National Federation wishes to register a boxer who has competed in any other contact sport.
We have been in communication with AIBA Executive Director, Mr Tom Virgets, who confirmed to us that the Rule has universal application, i.e. it applies to all ages. However, he was sympathetic to our suggestion that consideration is given to relax the Rule for younger boxers, i.e. pre-teens. We intend to submit proposals to AIBA in this regard.
In the meantime, however, we must point out that the AIBA Rule remains unchanged. No athlete can continue to compete as a boxer while being a member of any other contact sport. We are obliged to bring this to your attention in response to the number of queries received.
He quoted: AIBA Technical and Competition Rules Page 6:
“Individual Physical Contact Sport” means any of the following sports in any of their forms: Aikido, Cage Fighting, Judo, Ju-jitsu, Karate, Kendo, Kickboxing, K-1, Kung Fu, Muay Thai, MMA, Sambo, Savate, Sumo, Taekwondo, Wrestling, Wushu and such other sports as may be deemed by AIBA to be an individual physical contact sport “
This begs the question did the Leinster Council of IABA, and Carlow County Board not make its members immediately aware and if so why was the Tullow ABC club unaware two nights later? They said in an interview with local media that they were only aware once they were called to the table before the bout and told she had to withdraw.
On a worldwide scale, it seems quite likely that clubs in all AIBA National Federation Countries are unaware that at any moment one or more of their boxers could be withdrawn from a tournament, perhaps even suspended and this sad case is but a timely reminder that “AIBA rules” cannot be amended by individual National Federations.
It is to be hoped that the AIBA will re-visit the rules in the case of pre-teens as initially suggested by the IABA and, albeit it will be of little comfort to young Chloe, at least she and her parents will see that from this difficult situation rules can be changed. Undoubtedly ‘thousands and thousands’ of young boxers worldwide at this time taking part in “Individual Physical Contacts Sport” as defined by the AIBA rule book.,without realizing they could be banned.
Clubs too, of course, need to learn lessons – they must themselves be fully au fait with the rules when teaching other as rules are as important as any other aspect of the sport.
We would welcome a response from the AIBA as to what plans their Executive Director, Mr. Tom Virgets has to address what appears to be an injustice in the case of young pre-teens who have as many do, wish to take part in other contact sports before making a final decision. Hopefully, other NF’s will now make ALL their clubs too aware of the AIBA rules as they presently stand and we fully support the IABA’s efforts to persuade AIBA to amend the rulebook and be more flexible towards today’s youth who will be the mainstay of the AIBA and its Federations in the future.
Finally, we end with the words of, Chloe, her Father Eric Black, and coach Anthony Abbott in this interview with KCLR96fm via SoundCloud:
We wish Chloe good luck with her future sports career whatever she decides but as someone who has been suggested as a ‘budding new’ Katie Taylor perhaps she will one day soon return to the sport she undoubtedly loved before Friday night at the Stadium
and interview with fightstoremedia.ie