The possibility of a 2020 Tokyo Olympics without a boxing tournament is a worry for the International Olympic Committee and the host city in Japan, but if it were to go missing, would anyone actually miss it?
IOC president Thomas Bach stopped short of issuing a promise that Tokyo will host boxing, even as accusations of corruption and malfeasance threaten the sport at the Olympic level.
Bach, being grilled by reporters whose shark-like sense of smell detected bold in the water, said, “We want to have the boxing tournament in the games in Tokyo and we will make all efforts to have it.”
Corruption and malfeasance seem like poor excuses to cancel Olympic boxing, as those two adjectives and boxing seem to be tailor-made for one another, if history is any guide.
The International Boxing Association, the target of an official IOC inquiry, has given itself six months to conduct a secret self-examination to investigate the problem.
The IOC, according to Bach, has received a request from Japan’s national boxing federation to let the tournament proceed, a request that was more of a plead. Bach stated, “We’re absolutely in line with this request.”
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are just 20 months away and Japan would lose face if boxing were eliminated. The sport made its debut in 1908 and has been held at every Summer Olympics except for 1912, when the games were held in Stockholm, Sweden, where the sport was at the time banned.
Japan holds two Olympic gold medals in boxing and three bronze medals, putting them in 28th position for medals in the boxing code.
That number pales by comparison to Judo, where Japanese competitors are tops in the Olympic world.
The Japanese Olympic Committee knows that corruption and malfeasance are not much of an issue with Judo; after all, there is not much cause for either, as there is not much monetary temptation.