AIBA History

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Brief history of the International Boxing Association

3000 BC.

The first proof of pugilism was found in Egypt and dates back to year 3000 BC. The fighters were naked and took part in the King’s festivities. Boxing continuously evolved and became an Olympic Games sport for the first time in 688 BC in Olympia during the 23rd Olympiad. Onomastos of Smyrna became the first Olympic champion. More than 2,600 years later, boxing remains in the Olympic Games programme. The first boxing competition of the Olympic Games in modern times took place in St-Louis, USA on September 21st 1904 with bouts in seven weight divisions. 

From FIBA to AIBA: continuously working for boxing!

Several years later, representatives of the national associations of England, France, Belgium, Brazil and the Netherlands met in a preparatory conference for the foundation of an international boxing federation: The Fédération Internationale de Boxe Amateur (FIBA). The official foundation of FIBA was celebrated on August 24th 1920 during the Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium. International competition grew rapidly allowing amateurs to compete in prestigious tournaments.

In November 1946, a new start was given to boxing’s governing body in order to regain some of the loss of credibility caused by the behaviour of some leading officials during World War II. FIBA was dissolved and the English Amateur Boxing Association, in partnership with the French Boxing Federation, decided to create AIBA; the Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur.

Now, 60 years later, AIBA continues to govern Olympic Games boxing while AIBA’s new president Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu takes boxing into a new era.

The word "amateur" is no longer used, while the shape of boxing throughout the world is changing its image through a new logo and revolutionary competition guidelines.

Most importantly, during this time of change, the International Boxing Association continues to work diligently to ensure a fair, safe and drug free sport for the benefit of all fans of our beautiful sport.


Important dates in AIBA history  

Under FIBA

September 21st-22nd, 1904
First boxing competition at Olympic Games of modern times in St-Louis (USA).

Medical exam before the boxing competition is introduced.

February 16th, 1920
Preparatory conference for the foundation of an international boxing federation takes place with representatives of the national associations of England, France, Belgium, Brazil and the Netherlands as well as observers from the USA, Ireland and Scotland in attendance. English is declared the federation’s language, but the official name of the federation is in French: Fédération Internationale de Boxe Amateur (FIBA).

August 24th, 1920
Official foundation of the International Amateur Boxing Federation (FIBA) during the Olympic Games in Antwerp (BEL). President: John H. Douglas (GBR). Participating countries: BEL, CAN, DEN, FRA, GBR, NED, NOR, RSA, SUI, SWE, USA.

French becomes second language of the federation.

July 11th, 1926
5th FIBA Congress in Paris (FRA) and first election of an Executive Committee.

May 18th, 1929
First discussions take place on the subject of having bouts during the Olympic Games in Los Angeles (USA) conducted by a referee inside the ring (instead of seating outside on a high chair) and to have neutral judges.

May 13th, 1931

Decision made to have neutral referee/judges at ringside at the 9th FIBA Congress in Brussels (BEL). Boxers allowed to wear a cup protector and a gum shield at the Los Angeles Olympic Games.



...under AIBA! 

November 29th-30th, 1946
1st AIBA Congress in London (GBR), with the participation of 21 countries. First AIBA President elected: Emile Grémaux (FRA).

August 5th-6th, 1948
Foundation of the AIBA Medical Commission and Spanish becomes AIBA’s third official language at an AIBA Extraordinary Congress in London (GBR).

June 15th-16th, 1950 
New rules adopted stipulating that a contest should be stopped after a boxer has been knocked down three times in a round and the knocked-down boxer receives a protective suspension. Russian becomes AIBA’s fourth official language. AIBA Congress decides to remove bronze medal bouts for the first time at the Olympic Games in Helsinki (FIN). The losers of the semi-finals placed third without being awarded bronze medals.

October 13th-26th, 1968
Olympic tournament at the Games of the 19th Olympiad in Mexico City (MEX) features the light flyweight (48kg) division as the eleventh category for the first time.

August 27th-September 10th, 1972
Boxing gloves with white punching surface used for the first time at the Olympic Games in Munich (GER).

August 17th-30th, 1974
1st AIBA World Championships are held in Havana (CUB) with 242 athletes from 45 countries.

September 20th-25th, 1974
8th AIBA Congress held in Dar es Salaam (TAN). An AIBA fund is set up for developing boxing around the world, thus Olympic Solidarity plays an increasingly important role in the work of AIBA.

October, 1979 
1st AIBA World Cup held in Madison Square Garden, New York (USA).

10th-16th,  1979

First World Junior Championships in Yokohama, Japan.

August 29th-July 11th, 1984
The Olympic Games in Los Angeles (USA) sees the introduction of the super heavyweight (+91kg) division while the wearing of headguards is made compulsory for the first time.

December 3rd, 1988
AIBA Vice-Presidents' Bureau adopts new principles to safeguard boxing as an Olympic Sport.

September 17th-October 1st, 1989
5th AIBA World Championships in Moscow (RUS) with 236 boxers from 43 countries participating. An electronic scoring machine is used for the first time to make judges’ officiating more objective.

November 19th, 1993
AIBA Vice Presidents’ Bureau adopts new resolution on women’s boxing at a meeting in Tunis (TUN).

November 21th-25th, 1994
New rule introduced stipulating only 10 oz. gloves to be used in future in order to increase boxers’ safety. The upper age limit is raised from 32 to 34 years on the back of improved safety measures introduced to protect boxers’ health. Women's Boxing is recognised.

January 1st, 1996
Official AIBA Competition Record Book introduced, requiring all boxers to possess one in order to compete in AIBA competitions.

July 8th, 2005 
IOC Olympic members confirm the participation of boxing in the programme for the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008.

October 27th, 2005
The IOC Executive Board decides not to introduce women's boxing in the Beijing Olympic Games.

November 5th, 2006
Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu (TPE) is elected as the new AIBA president at the 16th AIBA Congress in Santo Domingo, (DOM).

February 8th, 2007
The AIBA Reform Committee, tasked with taking AIBA into a new era, is launched at the AIBA Executive Committee meeting in Taiwan (TPE) with IOC Executive Board member Mr. Gerhard Heiberg named as chairman.

October 22th, 2007
A new AIBA is born following the approval by the AIBA Extraordinary Congress in Chicago (USA) of the AIBA Reform Committee’s recommendations. Changes include the introduction of a new logo, new statutes and new competition rules.