THE weight classes that will be contested at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris have been confirmed. For the first time there will be parity in the number of male and female boxers at the tournament. The athletes will be spread over seven weight divisions for men and six for women (it was respectively eight and five at the last Olympics). The weights have been reorganised so now the Olympic divisions are: 50kgs, 54kgs, 57kgs, 60kgs, 66kgs and 75kgs for the women’s categories and for the men’s 51kgs, 57kgs, 63.5kgs, 71kgs, 80kgs, 92kgs and 92&kgs.

The increase in representation for women’s boxing is welcome. From only being introduced at the 2012 Olympics to increasing the number of women’s weight classes in Tokyo, these moves have driven an upswing in the women’s sport. It’s a surprise though that in the men’s sport the highly competitive middleweight and welterweight (75kgs and 69kgs) divisions have essentially been merged into 71kgs, what used to be light-middle.

It is vital though for boxing to satisfy the IOC’s expectations in order for it to remain an Olympic sport. Currently boxing has not been included in the programme for the 2028 Olympics and needs to meet a range of governance criteria to persuade the IOC to restore it to the Games. IBA, the rebranded scandal-hit AIBA, maintains it will deliver further improvements in governance, sporting and financial integrity. Its administrative elections coming up in May will be another key moment.

Due to officiating and financial concerns, AIBA, as it was then known, was suspended from running Olympic boxing events in qualifying and in the Games themselves for Tokyo 2020, replaced by an IOC Task Force in the last cycle. IBA has been entrusted with devising the qualification system for the Paris Games. That has been taken as a positive sign. “IBA is very pleased with the results of our cooperation with the IOC in the development of this Olympic Qualification System, and for the IOC’s approval of the categories for the tournament. We are certain that all boxers aiming to reach Paris 2024 will benefit. The proposed Olympic Qualification System offers fairness, clarity and accessibility. They will have multiple opportunities to qualify and there is flexibility because we have all learned the importance of this from the pandemic. We are also very grateful to the trust shown in IBA by the IOC in inviting us to develop a system that is based on performance at IBA events,” said IBA president Umar Kremlev.