AIBA must stop age discrimination!

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In 2014, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) officially announced it had amended rules which were approved by the AIBA Executive Committee.

One of the key amendments was the age range which had previously had a maximum age of 34 years:

  • Change of Age for Elite Men and Women Boxers from 18 to 40 years old from January 1, 2017; however, Men Boxers aged 18 following their date of birth will be allowed to participate in Elite Men Competitions (AOB, APB, and WSB) immediately

The AIBA is an international boxing association, but its rules and decisions are followed by local boxing associations across the United States, such as Team USA and the Golden Gloves. The AIBA rules, whether directly or indirectly, have a direct effect on boxers at the local level over the age of 40. Due to these AIBA rules, it is next to impossible at the local level, for anyone over 40 to get an amateur fight, preventing them from progressing to the Olympic trials or Olympics.

This age rule, active since 2014, and enforced for the trials, qualifications and the Olympics, appears as discrimination even among individuals from the Golden Gloves, Team USA, and the AIBA. The AIBA, which is currently under scrutiny for several severe allegations, as of early 2018, took advantage of the fact that there is a lack of older fighters in sport; not giving them the chance to have a voice in any rules change. Thus, allowing the AIBA to perpetuate this age discrimination, crudely masked as a "concern for boxer's health." We reiterate such a discriminatory restriction currently restricts athletes from boxing, even the local level, and entirely prevents participation in the qualifications and Olympics.

If AIBA truly believes amateur boxing can cause irreversible traumatic injury, why allow an 18-year-old to fight a fully matured elite man (e.g., male 27-35 year of age)? Why not set the minimum age at 24? Isn't the minimum age of 18 set solely because the individual is considered an adult? If the AIBA truly cared about fighters being severely injured, why not set age and weight levels? Further, if a man over 40 is so prone to injury, wouldn't it be easy for the someone 18 to 28, the current age range of most elite boxers, to end an "over the hill" boxers Olympic hopes by defeating him early, thus reducing any chance of irreversible injury? I think everyone acknowledges that combat sports can be dangerous, as boxing has been around for 300 years. We just question whether or not AIBA truly believes their own claims.

We feel the AIBA should remove the maximum age cap altogether or at least provide a medical exception or some other path forward.

Please sign this petition and help us tell AIBA to end age discrimination. The Olympics are not just for 20 year-olds.

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