AIBA is focusing on improving opportunities for women in the sport by hosting its first ever Gender Equality Forum in Sofia ©Getty Images

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) will hold its first ever Gender Equality Forum in Sofia between September 17 and 18, it has been announced. 

They claim they are holding the event in line with International Olympic Committee (IOC) aspirations to see gender equality widely recognised both in sporting competitions and organisations.

"As part of several reform programmes being embraced by AIBA, gender equality is one of the top priorities, and the Gender Equality Forum also aims at increasing gender equity in all aspects of boxing," an AIBA press release said.

"The Forum will focus on developing innovative approaches to promote equal opportunities for more girls and women to participate in the sport of boxing and receive increased benefits."

Gafur Rakhimov, the AIBA Interim President, said: "The increase of women participation is a key to the continued overall development of our sport in the future.

"Particularly, we want to make sure women boxers receive the support they need and are given equal opportunities in and out of the ring to thrive.

"Our ultimate goal is to ensure that our sport has a global reach and that participants - both men and women - from all nations and cultures are provided access to our sport."

The event in Sofia will be the first such Forum in the sport ©Getty Images
The event in Sofia will be the first such Forum in the sport ©Getty Images

Emilia Grueva, chairwoman of the AIBA Women's Commission and of the Organising Committee for the Forum, claimed it was a "fantastic initiative".

"Providing the boxing family with the right tools will allow the development of a concrete action plan to strengthen the presence of women in our organisation and our sport," she said.

"I hope to see many of our members at this exciting event."

In January, AIBA rejected a plan to exclude two men's categories at Tokyo 2020 to accommodate two more women's divisions.

The IOC Executive Board had decided to remove two men's boxing events from the Olympic programme in order to make way for two additional female ones.

AIBA had been hoping to add the extra female events and only sacrifice men's quotas rather than actual medal events.