AIBA Boxing History

The first proof of pugilism was found in Egypt and dates back to year 3,000 BC. The fighters were naked and the event was part of the King’s festivities. For years and years, boxing continuously evolved and was first accepted as an Olympic sport in 688 BC at the 23rd Olympiad in Olympia. Onomastos of Smyrna became the first Olympic boxing champion. More than 2,600 years later, boxing remains on the Olympic Games program. The first boxing competition at the Olympic Games of modern times was at the 1904 edition in St-Louis (USA) with bouts in seven weight categories.
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: la Fédération Internationale de Boxe Amateur (FIBA). The official foundation of FIBA was celebrated on August 24, 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 the boxing’s governing body in order to regain some of the loss of credibility caused by the behavior 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; l’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 the noble art.

Important dates in AIBA history

Under FIBA

September 1904 – First boxing competition at the Olympic Games of modern times in St-Louis (USA). Bouts took place in seven weight categories.

1906 – Medical examination before the boxing competition is introduced.

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

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

1921 – French becomes second language of the federation.

July 1926 – 5th FIBA Congress in Paris and first election of a FIBA Executive Committee. Decision made to limit entries to the Olympic Games to one boxer per country per category. A bout is fixed to three rounds of three minutes instead of two rounds of three minutes and one round of four minutes as it had been before.

May 1931 – Decision made at 9th FIBA Congress in Brussels (BEL) to have referee officiate from inside the ring (instead of sitting outside on a high chair) and to have neutral judges at ringside. Boxers are allowed to wear a cup protector and a gumshield at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles (USA), for the first time.

Under AIBA

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

August 1948 – Extraordinary Congress in London. Foundation of the Medical Commission.

June 1950 – 2nd AIBA Congress in Copenhagen (DEN) with 54 National Member Federations. New rules adopted stipulating that a contest should be stopped after a boxer has been knocked down three times in a round, including a protective suspension.

The Congress decides to introduce the Light Welter and Light Heavyweights categories to bring the total weight classes to 10 and to have no contest for the bronze medal for the first time at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki (FIN). The losers of the semi-finals are automatically placed third without being awarded bronze medals.

1962 – 5th AIBA Congress in Interlaken (SUI). Rudyard H. Russell (ENG) elected AIBA President after Emile Grémaux passed away in 1959.

October 1968 – The Olympic Games boxing competition featured the Light Flyweight category as the eleventh category for the first time at the 19th Olympiad in Mexico City.

October 1970 – 7th AIBA Congress in Paris (FRA) with 111 National Member Federations.

August-September 1972 – Boxing gloves with white hitting surface are used for the first time at the Olympic Games in Munich.

August 1974 – First AIBA World Championships in Havana (CUB) with 242 athletes from 45 countries.

September 1974 – 8th AIBA Congress in Dar-es-Salaam (TAN). N.F. Nikiforov-Denisov (USSR) elected AIBA President. An AIBA fund is set up for developing boxing around the world, thus Olympic Solidarity becomes part of the work of AIBA.

November 1978 – 9th AIBA Congress in Madrid (USA) with 127 National Member Federations. Col. Don F. Hull (USA) elected AIBA President.

December 1979 – First AIBA World Junior Championships in Yokohama (JPN). In October, first AIBA World Cup in New York, Madison Square Garden (USA).

July-August 1984 – The Super Heavyweight (91+kg) category is included for the first time at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles (USA). The wearing of headguards is made compulsory for the first time.

December 1988 – Decision of AIBA Vice-Presidents’ Bureau to adopt principles for the maintenance of boxing as an Olympic Sport.

September-October 1989 – 5th World Championships in Moscow (RUS) with 236 boxers from 43 countries participating. For the first time, an electronic scoring machine was used to make judges’ officiating more objective.

November 1993 – At its meeting in Tunis (TUN), the AIBA Vice Presidents’ Bureau adopts a resolution on women’s boxing.

November 1994 – 13th AIBA Congress in Beijing (CHN) with 187 National Member Federations. Decision made to use only 10 oz. gloves in order to increase boxers’ safety. The upper age limit was extended from 32 to 34 years of age on the basis of measures introduced to improve the protection of the boxers’ health. Women’s Boxing is recognized.

January 1996 – New Rule stipulating that every boxer must possess an official AIBA Competition Record Book.

November 2006 – Dr Ching-Kuo Wu (TPE) is elected as the 6th AIBA President at the 16th AIBA Congress in Santo Domingo (DOM).

February 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 2007 – A new AIBA is born following the approval by the 196 National Member Federations at 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.

October 2007 – Adoption of AIBA New Mission’s Statement “To Govern the Sport of Boxing Worldwide in all its Forms”.

September 2009 – Launch of AIBA Road to Dream Program to assist boxers and coaches from emerging countries in training and for further participation in AIBA Major World Championships by covering all their expenses.

October 2009 – Launch of the World Series of Boxing (WSB).

November 2010 – Historical beginning of the WSB 1st Season.

August 2010 – Acceptance by the IOC Executive Board of the introduction of Women’s Boxing in the Olympic Games.

November 2010 – Announcement of building the AIBA World Boxing Academy in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

August 2011 – Launch of the AIBA Pro Boxing (APB).

July 2012 – History is made at the London 2012 Olympic Games after women’s boxing makes its debut at the event for the very first time. On July 9, Britain’s Nicola Adams became the first women’s boxer to win an Olympic Games gold medal when she defeated China’s Ren Cancan.

October 2013 – After extensive studies on boxers’ safety, including two statistical reviews by the AIBA Medical Commission where more than 2,000 bouts were studied, AIBA decided that boxers in all Elite Men’s competitions will no longer wear headguards. These figures were presented at a joint meeting between the AIBA Medical Commission Chairmen, and the IOC Medical Commission. All available data indicated that the removal of headguards in Elite Men’s competitions would result in a decreased number of concussions.

October 2013 – Ten new World Boxing Champions were crowned during the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

September 2014 – AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu officially opened the AIBA World Boxing Academy. Based in Talgar in the Almaty region of Kazakhstan, the Academy is an integrated training institute which embraces all aspects of boxer’s development. The AIBA Academy sets the best practice and global standards for boxing education, development and performance.

November 2014 – Dr Ching-Kuo Wu is re-elected as AIBA President during the AIBA Congress in Jeju, South Korea. The AIBA Medical Commission and AIBA Congress vote unanimously to support the removal of headguards as a safety measure for Elite Men’s Boxers.

January 2015 – Erik Pfeifer makes AIBA Pro Boxing history by becoming the first APB World Champion in Baku, four months after the launch of this new competition format.

June 2015 – Astana Arlans Kazakhstan win their second WSB Title after defeating Cuba Domadores in the WSB Season V Finals in Astana, Kazakhstan.