Poland joins World Series of Boxing ranks as a national franchise
Tuesday, 17 July 2012
July 17 - Poland has signed an agreement with the International Boxing Association (AIBA) to join its World Series of Boxing (WSB) competition and the country will make its debut later this year when season three of the tournament gets underway.
The WSB (pictured below) is the only professional boxing competition in the world that allows fighters to retain their Olympic eligibility.
The first two WSB seasons saw city franchises in place but season three will see revolutionary changes made to incorporate national franchises, such as Poland, in a move designed to spread the global appeal of the event.
The deal was completed after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between AIBA President and WSB chairman CK Wu and Jerzy Rybicki (pictured top, far left and second left), the President of the Polish Boxing Association.
"Following on from the recent addition of Argentina and Ukraine, we are delighted to welcome Poland as a new franchise in the World Series of Boxing," said Wu, who is also an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member.
"These new signings, coming just a few weeks after season two ended in a packed ExCeL in London, prove the attractiveness of our competition.
"We are convinced that the next season will bring WSB to a whole new level."
Rybicki, a former boxer who won gold at light middleweight at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games, said the announcement is a huge fillip for boxing in Poland.
"I want to take this opportunity to thank AIBA and its President, CK Wu, for the opportunity that you are offering us," he said.
"Joining the WSB will give a great boost to boxing in Poland.
"We are proud to be part of the AIBA family."
The Poland franchise will be owned and run by Polish promotion company Stand4Them Promotions with Jaroslaw Kolkowski, managing director of the organisation, acting as general manager of the new team.
"We are very happy and honoured to join the WSB and demonstrate our commitment to develop the sport of boxing, especially in Poland," said Kolkowski.
"Hopefully we will prove that Poland is a country that counts in the boxing family."
The deal illustrates Poland's growing statue in holding major events after it received widespread plaudits for co-hosting football's recent UEFA European Championships alongside Ukraine, which have also will also have a franchise joining WSB for season three.
The move is also likely to help Poznan's bid for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games given AIBA's strong standing in the IOC since the influential Wu took over as President in 2006.
This agreement will also see Poland become involved with the AIBA Professional Boxing programme (APB) which will launch next year and offer boxers the chance to compete professionally under the AIBA umbrella without joining the orthodox professional ranks.
July 2012: Ukraine franchise to join World Series of Boxing for new season
June 2012: World Series of Boxing champions crowned at ExCeL
June 2012: Fighters weigh-in for WSB Individual Championships as season two reaches a climax
June 2012: WSB boxers visit London's iconic West Ham Boxing Club
June 2012: Argentina franchise joins World Series of Boxing for new season