Fresh faces generally usher in fresh ideas. And if the new president of the international amateur boxing association (AIBA), Ching-Kuo Wu, is to be believed, AIBA is all set for a facelift.
From the open scoring system to aggressive marketing, the new chief has started to formulate novel concepts to revolutionise the sport.
It is sad that boxing, which is flourishing in the professional circuit, has to depend on International Olympic Committee funds for sustenance at the amateur level.
“We get 90 per cent of our funds (amounting to around $8 million after every Olympic Games) from the IOC," says Wu.
“Though there is potential for the sport to sustain itself through revenue from TV rights and aggressive marketing, we have not been able to do it,” adds the former AIBA Financial Committee chairman. Though the AIBA has finally realised its folly of not marketing the sport well, Wu believes boxing's immense popularity can be used to develop and expand the sport.
“We lacked a charismatic leader who could attract sponsors. We had approached several sponsors earlier but they refused to sign because of the unprofessional approach of the AIBA top brass,” he adds. But now, he says, there are a couple of potential sponsors who could work with the AIBA on a long-term basis.
Apart from shoring up on the finance front, the new AIBA is in a quest of transparency too. “That is our priority. Since we have failed to introduce the open scoring system in it entirety, the IOC has stopped funding us. We'll make sure that by the Beijing Olympics, we display all the scores given by the five judges on the bench,” says Wu.
The AIBA is not stopping at this. Wu feels that unless the referees are left alone by their associations to let them do their job independently, they will not be able to perform their duties without bias creeping in.
“I have told the judges not to follow instructions from anyone and that they should be under no pressure from any federation,” says the Chinese Taipei official.