Amateur boxing will offer money prizes

LAUSANNE, Switzerland The distinction between amateur and professional boxing was further blurred Thursday with the announcement by the Int

The distinction between amateur and professional boxing was further blurred Thursday with the announcement by the International Boxing Association to offer money prizes of up to $ 100,000 for the first time at its amateur world championship.

AIBA revealed that a total purse of $ 2.6 million will be shared among the medalists in each category: $ 100,000 for gold, $ 50,000 for silver and $ 25,000 for bronze. The world championship will be held in Belgrade, Serbia, between October 24 and November 6.

The governing body did not immediately respond to a query from The Associated Press about whether it plans to hand out cash prizes at the Women’s World Cup. That competition is still scheduled for this year, but with no venue or date on the AIBA calendar.

“This is the first time that AIBA will award the medalists financially, and it should be,” said AIBA President Umar Kremlev. “This money is well deserved when taking into account all the years of preparation that are required to win a place in the top AIBA tournament, plus the sacrifice involved.”

The initiative could help AIBA gain the support of boxers in seeking to have their suspension from the International Olympic Committee lifted. The IOC has demanded reforms within the organization after questioning the management of AIBA after numerous controversies over the decisions of the judges in recent Olympic Games. AIBA did not have any kind of participation in the boxing tournament of the recent Tokyo Olympics.

AIBA removed the word “amateur” from its name in 2007 and held its first money bag competition the following year.

It also allowed some boxers to contest professional fights without taking away their eligibility to compete in the Olympics.

Russian Albert Batyrgaziev became the first professional boxer to win an Olympic gold medal this year.

Handing out of money marks a turning point for AIBA in another direction.

The troubled governing body is in a dire financial situation due to its debts and failed attempts to break into the lucrative world of professional boxing with the launch of AIBA-endorsed professional competitions. Shortly after he was elected as AIBA president in December, Kremlev brought in Gazprom – Russia’s state-owned natural gas producer – as one of its main sponsors.