Global pitch challenges agencies to arrest "decline" of boxing

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) is in talks with agencies over a global PR brief estimated to be worth nearly £1m as it seeks to arrest the decline of the sport and become its "unifying force".

Stepping into the ring: AIBA is seeking to become the leading professional association (Credit: AIBA /AOB)
Stepping into the ring: AIBA is seeking to become the leading professional association (Credit: AIBA /AOB)

AIBA (the acronym is for its French name Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur) is historically responsible for overseeing amateur boxing but is attempting to expand into the professional arena. 

It is the only global boxing body recognised by the International Olympic Committee and boxers can retain their Olympic eligibility if they compete in its professional competitions.

These include the World Series of Boxing and the AIBA Pro Boxing programme, which AIBA describes as the "pinnacle" and is aimed at "reforming the sport’s structure in the long term".

The PR brief, estimated by sources to be potentially worth around £900,000, involves raising awareness of AIBA and its competitions amid what the tender document claims is "strong opposition from pro-boxing sanctioning bodies".

The long-term objective of the brief, the tender document adds, is "to establish AIBA as the ultimate governing body of the sport of boxing".

The tender document claims that professional boxers have "little control over their destiny" and are left "heavily dependent on promoters".

"The sport of boxing is today fragmented and its professional side is run with the sole purpose of providing advantages and wealth to a selected few actors, for whom integrity is not a priority," it adds. "If the sport of boxing remains in its current situation, its decline in numerous markets, and as a mainstream media and entertainment product, will continue."

Agencies have been shortlisted for the work, which involves targeting key markets including the UK, Mexico, the US and Germany and appealing to both boxing and combat sports fans as well as fans of sports more widely, with women a particular target. 

AIBA confirmed the pitch was taking place but declined to comment further. 

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