IOC Executive Board approves qualification pathway for athletes in boxing on the road to Tokyo 2020

IOC Executive Board approves qualification pathway for athletes in boxing on the road to Tokyo 2020
© IOC/Greg Martin

Following the recommendations made on 22 May 2019 by the IOC EB to keep the boxing tournament on the Tokyo 2020 sports programme while suspending the recognition of the International Boxing Federation (AIBA), the IOC EB added further proposals to ensure the delivery of the qualification events and the boxing tournament at Tokyo 2020. They will immediately come into force if the IOC Session approves the IOC EB recommendations of 22 May 2019.

The EB decision includes two main topics:

  • The Tokyo 2020 event programme

  • The Tokyo 2020 qualification system

Tokyo 2020 event programme

The boxing tournament will be composed of 13 weight categories, 8 for men and 5 for women (compared to 10 for men and 3 for women at Rio 2016), as already approved by the IOC EB in June 2017.

The confirmed weight categories are:

Men’s events (8)

Fly (48kg to 52kg)

Feather (52kg to 57kg)

Light (57kg to 63kg)

Welter (63kg to 69kg)

Middle (69kg to 75kg)

Light Heavy (75kg to 81kg)

Heavy (81kg to 91kg)

Super Heavy (91kg to +91kg)

Women’s events (5)

Fly (48kg to 51kg)

Feather (54kg to 57kg)

Light (57kg to 60kg)

Welter (64kg to 69kg)

Middle (69kg to 75kg)

Tokyo 2020 qualification system

  • The proposal includes a revised quota distribution to enhance gender equality, which would increase by 25 per cent the women’s quota previously approved by the IOC Executive Board in June 2017.

  • The overall quota of 286 athletes is maintained and will be made up of 186 men and 100 women (compared to 250 men and 36 women at Rio 2016).

  • The continental distribution has been based on participation and results at the past two Olympic Games and two World Championships to reflect the landscape of global boxing.

  • A total of four continental qualification events will be held (the Asia and Oceania event will be combined), along with a further World Qualification Event. All qualification events will be staged between January and May 2020. The host cities for the qualification events will be targeted/selected from among host countries of recent or upcoming Olympic Games.

The full document can be found here.

“These recommendations aim to keep athletes at the heart of the Olympic Games, protecting their experience and their right to compete,” said IOC Member Morinari Watanabe, Chair of the ad-hoc Boxing Task Force and President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). “They also fully respect the principles of inclusivity and universality, increase the gender balance and establish fair participation criteria for athletes across the world, ensuring a diverse and comprehensive representation.”

All the proposals are the result of a thorough consultation process led by Mr Watanabe with various stakeholders, including from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) and relevant boxing experts.

In order to ensure the delivery of qualification events and the boxing tournament at Tokyo 2020, the composition of the Task Force was confirmed with the following members joining Mr Watanabe (in alphabetical order):

  • Mr William Frederick BLICK (UGA), IOC Member


  • Ms Aya MAHMOUD MEDANY (EGY), IOC Athletes’ Commission member

  • Mr Marius VIZER (AUT), President of the International Judo Federation

A boxing technical group will also assist on an administrative level to help guide the decision-making of the Task Force, while no professional boxing leagues or members of the former leadership of AIBA will be represented in the Task Force.

These recommendations are the latest step in a process in which areas of concern regarding AIBA, specifically concerning the areas of finance, governance, ethics, refereeing and judging, were identified. The IOC EB subsequently decided in November 2018 to launch an investigation into AIBA. This led to the creation of an Inquiry Committee that released its report in May 2019, which served as a basis for the IOC EB’s recommendation to suspend the recognition of AIBA while keeping the boxing tournament at Tokyo 2020.

The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of 3.4 million US dollars goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.

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