Legends like Joe Frazier (who captured Olympic gold in Tokyo in 1964), Cassius Clay and Ray Leonard would all gladly, proudly tell you how the experiences they felt whilst representing their country at the Olympic games meant oh, so much to them. And we fight fans will tell each other how much their achievements meant to us; how they inspired us and moved us.
But now, as crazy as it even sounds, there is a very real chance there could be no boxing at the next Olympics, in Tokyo in 2020. According to quite alarming report that has done the rounds, IOC (International Olympic Committee) president Thomas Bach is somewhat unhappy at the way the AIBA (Amateur Boxing Association) conducted itself over the past few years:
Bach has informed the media how he is “extremely worried” about how the sport has been run, and how the IOC had severe concerns over some of the boxing judging that took place at the last Olympics, in Rio in 2016. Bottom line: unless Bach and all concerned are happy, there is, astonishingly, a real chance there could be no boxing in Tokyo 2020.
It’s flabbergasting to even think how much of an impact this would have on our beloved sport. Practically every pro boxer will tell you how vital an amateur background is if you want to have a chance of making it at professional level, and there is no finer achievement or honour for any amateur boxer than that of fighting at the Olympics. Is the amateur game really in such a bad state? These are bad times indeed if this is the case.
Imagine great, great fighters like Ali, Foreman (who can forget the image of a young “Big George” proudly waving a tiny American flag in the ring as he had won gold in Mexico in 1968?) and Frazier having had no Olympic pride, on the back of which they launched their attempt at collecting professional gold.
Suffice it to say, there will be one huge gap if there is no boxing at the next Olympic Games. A sad possibility indeed.