The World Series of Boxing (WSB) is suspended indefinitely and is set to be disbanded after the International Boxing Association (AIBA) confirmed it cannot fulfill its agreement with the competition’s main investor.
AIBA executive director Tom Virgets told insidethegames the series, launched in 2010, was “inactive” and will not resume unless significant investment can be found to fund it.
This seems unlikely given AIBA’s perilous financial situation coupled with the decision from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to suspend the embattled organisation as the Olympic governing body for boxing.
The removal of AIBA as the Olympic International Federation for the sport is a factor in the collapse of the WSB as the series offered 32 quotas for Tokyo 2020 before the IOC removed AIBA’s involvement in the boxing tournament at next year’s Games.
“Following the IOC’s decision to remove AIBA as the Olympic IF for Tokyo 2020 and the removal of the 32 WSB Olympic quota positions from the programme, AIBA was not able to meet the conditions of its investor agreement for the WSB,” Virgets said.
“The programme is currently inactive.
“The WSB Board continues to seek the resources necessary to reactivate this exciting, made for TV boxing league.”
The 2019 WSB had already been plunged into crisis when two of the main franchises, Astana Arlans Kazakhstan and Uzbek Tigers, withdrew, citing financial difficulties and the supposed “lack of relevance” of the competition following the IOC decision.
Organisers had attempted to improve its financial stability with an overhaul of the format after Virgets admitted it had “incurred significant financial losses” and “presented no possibility of turning a profit” in its initial state.
t has been held in every year in 2010 and was launched amid considerable fanfare, with AIBA claiming that it “marked a new era in the sport of boxing, reuniting the broader boxing world and its grassroots amateur foundation by providing a bridge between Olympic boxing and professional boxing”.