My name is Roy Jones Jr. You know me as a successful professional boxer, but I am also a Silver Olympic medalist. I could have written “Olympic Champion”, and I still believe I am, but the biased decision deprived me of a desirable title in 1988, and it has never been acknowledged.
I cannot remain silent when boxing is not represented in the LA 2028 initial programme. To exclude boxing from the Olympic Games would be nonsense, it would be no less than committing a crime. The IOC threatens us that the future of boxing at the Olympic Games is in jeopardy, because of their relationships with the IBA.
However, we all are aware of who destroyed it. His name is C.K. Wu, he was AIBA President for many years, as well as an IOC member back then. Ask yourself how he managed to hide corruption in boxing, which existence is proven by independent experts.
Recently, the IBA Congress has democratically voted in front of the whole world for the current leadership. This was a clear signal that national federations support the direction where IBA moves. Nobody can give any recommendations to Congress; national federations know better what leader they need. Moreover, we shouldn’t differentiate people by their nationalities. Some said that “boxing committed suicide”, but, in fact, this is a huge mistake to call it suicide because our sport was simply killed way before!
Those murderers are set free, nobody pled guilty. The independent investigation showed that many people were involved in wrongdoings, including the former IOC member C.K. Wu, who led AIBA to the collapse; the organization was nearly bankrupt and on the edge of non-existence.
It is unacceptable to blame IBA and its current leadership, who gave boxing a hand in the toughest moment in its history. Ask yourself whether they did something, at least a tiny bit, wrong. I am really happy that today IBA is fighting for justice. In fact, the new IBA doesn’t like empty talks, but actions. The work carried out in little less than 2 years is tremendous, and we all have been able to witness it.
To name a few, all debts have been settled, and the funds are allocated on an ongoing basis for the development. With the support of IBA, many countries were able to bring their boxers to the World Championships and win medals – ask yourself whether it is an achievement. Fair refereeing and judging is what concerns me the most, and you all know why. IBA is working tirelessly on mistakes of the past, making every effort to avoid them in the future.
Collaboration with the team of an independent expert, Professor McLaren, has paid off; the latest two IBA World Championships in Belgrade and Istanbul, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham were the most successful in terms of refereeing and judging in years. Ask yourself whether it is ordinary or remarkable.
The best and most well-known experts have also been involved to build an open and transparent management system. Recommendations are being actively implemented. Within a limited term, IBA cleaned the house and became one of the best international federations in the sports world, which tirelessly takes care of its athletes and coaches. Ask yourself whether any other federation could do at least half of it in similarly short terms.
I am convinced that the IBA is on the right track. Let the organization work, let it develop boxing around the world. Let bygones be bygones! Given the mistakes of the past, the IOC should not impose their functionaries and dictate, they must help. I really hope that in the existing circumstances, the IOC will reconsider its attitude to the situation and will cooperate.
We faced inequity and biased judgment against us but the sport of boxing with all its history didn’t deserve it! The whole boxing family must unite in our common fight against injustice. Boxing must be represented in the Olympic programme. Generations of athletes should not be punished for C.K. Wu and his team’s crimes.
The IOC should take into account the huge work of the IBA to clean the sport from past issues. I urge the IOC to keep their ears open and listen to the boxing community, which calls for transparent and fair decisions. Everyone sees how IBA has changed, but you. I hope my words will be heard. I hope for fairness for every single boxer, who fights for their dream.
I urge all athletes, no matter if you are an amateur or professional boxer, active or retired, defending or future champion, I urge all coaches, referees and judges, all National Federations and Confederations, our dear fans and all those, who love boxing.
Join me, join my campaign #STANDFORBOXING. Our sport gave us everything. It’s high time we gave everything to our sport. Stand for boxing, stand for Independent IBA!
Sincerely, Roy Jones Jr.