By Duncan Mackay at the International Convention Centre Jeju in Seogwipo

C K Wu is set to be re-elected as AIBA President at the Congress in Jeju ©Valerie von EberhardtC K Wu will be elected for a third term as President of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) here this week as he prepares to fully launch his revolutionary plan for the governing body to retain total of the sport, including those who fight professionally.

The 68-year-old Taiwanese, first elected in 2006 to replace the controversial Anwar Chowdhry, the Pakistani widely accused of corruption during his 20 years as President, will stand unopposed at the Congress, which is due to start tomorrow.

He has been nominated by 98 of the 196 National Federations who are members of AIBA. 

The Congress is also expected to unanimously endorse the AIBA Pro Boxing Competition (APB), a new event featuring 80 of the world's top fighters who will be able to compete professionally while retaining their Olympic eligibility. 

Wu considers the competition the next step in the modernisation of the sport, following AIBA Opening Boxing (AOB) and the World Series of Boxing (WSB).

AIBA President C K Wu claims the new APB will enable them to support boxers from the grassroots to the elite level ©AIBAAIBA President C K Wu claims the new APB will enable them to support boxers from the grassroots to the elite level ©AIBA

"Since my election as President in 2006, my overriding mission has been to ensure that our sport is seen as honourable and transparent and is respected through the world," Wu, a member of the ruling Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said here today.

"For many decades, the sport of boxing, especially professional boxing which was not controlled by AIBA, had been seen as badly managed and benefiting only a very few people, who were exploiting the sport to enrich themselves.

"AIBA decided to take action to rescue our beloved sport from its decline.

"To do this, we first amended our statutes so that now they can clearly proclaim our mission, 'To govern the sport of boxing worldwide in all of its forms'.

"We always have the welfare of boxers at the heart of everything we do.

"This is why we have now put in place the final pieces of our long-term strategy and vision for the future of boxing.

"The next 12 months are going to see one of the biggest transformations of our sport in its history, with the launch of APB."

The boxers selected to be part of APB have been given five-year contracts, promised financial security, medical support and the opportunity to fight for prize money up to $100,000 (£63,000/€80,000), raising to $250,000 (£157,000/€201,000) in the most popular weight divisions in 2016 and 2017.

"From now, the International Boxing Association will support boxers from their first bouts at grassroots level, through to elite level - and potential Olympic or World Championship glory - and then onwards to the pinnacle of our sport, Pro Boxing," said Wu. 

"For the first-time ever, Pro Boxers will receive the financial security, the training and support that they need - and not just in the short-term, but over a sustained five-year period a with guaranteed number of bouts.

"Each APB boxer keeps the patronage of his National Boxing Federation, which means they can still qualify to compete in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. 

"That is an historic first for Pro Boxing - and it is an initiative that is fully supported by the IOC."

Each National Federation will receive a 30 per cent of the value of the prize money won by boxers from their country, which the AIBA hope will be used for development.

"In this way, the pinnacle of our sport is also directly supporting the grassroots, so creating a virtuous circle - and a sustainable model for boxing's future," said Wu.
AIBA President C K Wu has secured an CHF35 million investment deal to support the new APB ©AIBAAIBA President C K Wu has secured an CHF35 million investment deal to support the APB ©AIBA

The radical plan, which will see inaugural champions crowned in each of the 10 weight categories in January, before they begin to face challengers in March, will be marketed by new AIBA company, the Boxing Marketing Arm. 

It has private backing from investors, most notably from Hong Kong-based private entity First Commitment International Trade, who have invested CHF35 million (£28 million/$39 million/€29 million). 

But the scheme has caused controversy among the professional organisations and promoters.

Wu, however, dismisses them.

"There is no dialogue," he said. 

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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