THE Boxing Task Force, which has been administering Olympic boxing since the suspension of AIBA, has announced a major overhaul for the Olympic qualification process.

The coronavirus pandemic stalled the qualifiers in their tracks last year. The African and Asia/Oceania events had been completed and the results there stand. The European Olympic qualification event was halted after three days in March 2020 and will resume where it left off. It will now take place later this year in June, with the exact dates and the location still to be confirmed. The Americas qualification event, postponed in its entirety last year, has been rescheduled for May 10-16 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Originally a final World qualification event for all regions was going to take place in France. That has now been cancelled. Instead the 53 (32 for men and 21 for women) OIympic quota places that would have been available there will be granted now according to the Boxing Task Force’s rankings. The Task Force plan to allocate them equally across the four regions (Africa, Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe) and all the weight categories.

European Olympic qualifier

“We are disappointed that our boxers will only have one qualification event at which they can compete for a place at the Olympic Games however we recognise the current situation is extremely difficult for the [Boxing Task Force] and that they are doing their best to put in place a fair system to allocate places at Tokyo 2021,” a spokesperson for GB Boxing said.

“Our priority is to ensure our boxers continue to prepare well for the continental qualifier and are in the best possible condition to perform at their best and secure a place at Tokyo 2021 when the event takes place in June.”

The Task Force rankings are dictated by performances in World and continental championships as well as these continental Olympic qualifiers, so there is still some scope for movement, but in essence this new system is good news for any boxers who have yet to qualify but are the most highly ranked in their weight in their region. It is bad news who anyone who was depending on the last chance World qualifier and adds an element of further pressure to those who must perform in their continental qualification event to win a place in the Tokyo Games.

It is at least, under these unique circumstances, a plausible way of completing qualification in time for the Olympics to happen.