As IBA continues to improve fairness in judging, a new scoring system was showcased at the fourth edition of the Global Boxing Forum in Dubai, showing how the sport can continue to move forwards into the future.
IBA Secretary General and CEO Chris Roberts OBE introduced the New Generation Scoring System, developed by UNIXON Systems in cooperation with the Japan Boxing Federation and LiveMedia Corporation.
Roberts addressed one of the International Olympic Committee’s concerns centred around the existing scoring system, acknowledging there is currently a mix of objective and subjective marking, stating the new style – which will be piloted and compared with the current one – is more accurate. Aside from judges watching on a screen, a separate reviewer will score with the video at a slower speed.
“The most important thing is keeping the dignity of the sport and thinking about athletes first,” said Hiroyoshi Kikuchi, director of the Japan Boxing Federation.
“In order to do this to keep the dignity of the sport, we need this system to make this happen.
“The history of the Games and boxing have come together through all these years – we understand that we have to work together to gain this position back.”
Fumihiko Kimura, R&D director at UNIXON Systems suggested there would be no need for bout reviewing with this technology.
IBA President Umar Kremlev opened the Global Boxing Forum, which featured panels on various topics.
Dutch boxer Megan de Cler, who was banned for life by her National Federation for competing at the Women’s World Boxing Championships, spoke with Chris Roberts on IBA’s Financial Support Programme and the organisation’s willingness to allow her to compete as a neutral athlete in the absence of her home nation.
“We recognised her contribution not only as an athlete, but as a person,” said Roberts.
“The President’s vision is to identify people like Megan and bring them into our home.”
“Without the support I wouldn’t be able to compete at all, because normally the decisions are made by the National Federation and because I am banned, I would need to pay those costs myself,” added de Cler.
“So, I’m very grateful for the IBA’s support.”
Continuing the theme of athletes earning, Roberts anticipated 2024 would be a prosperous year for Champions’ Night, with 16 events planned and expects this number could rise. He highlighted the difference between IBA and IBA Professional events, giving them their own respective themes, as well as a rise in prize money.
On social media, the IBA Champions’ Night single bout with the most views sits at over 700,000 to date. Following the event, IBA celebrated over 300,000 followers on Instagram as a new milestone in social media development.
Branding was discussed with Azhar Muhammad-Saul, COO and partner at Paradigm Sports who represents Connor McGregor the legendary fighter, where he stressed why authenticity was important for athletes’ brands and that companies should “economise” the relationship between fan and athlete. Legendary boxer Roy Jones Jr joined the panel session online and World and Olympic champion from France Estelle Mossely talked about her experience in organizing boxing events.
Katherina Mironova, head of IT & Media Cluster at IBA Challenger, delivered a speech regarding the IBA video service that would launch next year, as well as an app that would provide opportunity for athletes of all calibres to promote their own brand.
Dr Graziella Thake, CEO of the Optimisation Hub, was at the forefront of discussions regarding mental well-being, stating mental strength through everyday practices can help athletes adapt to perform at their highest regardless of where they are in the world. IBA Board member Kristy Harris would speak about the pressures of training as a full-time athlete and making weight, while mentioning adaptions she had to make when she was injured.
On an equality panel, Harris stressed that while female participation was improving, more could be done going forward, asking men involved in IBA to support the development of female coaches. Fellow Board member and Chair of the Diversity Commission Pearl Dlamini challenged National Federations in her home continent Africa to set targets for qualifying women’s coaches. Board member Dian Gomes stressed ‘dramatic change’ in boxing in a view of diversity and inclusion.
To conclude the Global Boxing Forum, the IBA Global Journalist Award was given to American writer Alan Abrahamson of 3 Wire Sports.
Five IBA Continental Journalist Awards were won too by Kenya’s Elias Makori of Nation Media Group, Panama’s Ludo Saenz of Notifight, China’s Chao Zhou of Sina, France’s Alain Mercier of FrancsJeux and Fiji’s Sereana Salalo of the Fiji Sun.
Livestream recordings of the IBA Ordinary Congress, Global Boxing Forum and Champions’ Night are available at www.iba.sport.