Inside Lines: The gloves are off as Dr Wu seeks to be the ringmaster

 

Amateur boxing has been KO'd. The International Boxing Association, aka AIBA, have ordered all national federations around the world to delete the word "amateur" from their titles, which means the last bastion in the Olympic Games is about to fall. No more amateur boxing, simply boxing.

The dictum is soon to be discussed by the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) and other UK national bodies. Almost certainly they will comply, not wishing to alienate the powerful AIBA president, Dr C K Wu, again after repairing a previously damaged relationship and entering a franchise, the British Lionhearts, in his own pro-style boxing baby, the World Series of Boxing (WSB).

The A word has existed here since 1880, when the Amateur Boxing Association were formed. While its removal is both timely and logical I suspect it is part of Dr Wu's grand design to become the pooh-bah of pugilism, taking complete control of all facets of the sport, including the professionals. Good luck with that. It's a load of old punchballs.

Dr Wu is fortunate that the belligerent American impresario Don King is now in his dotage, otherwise he would have received a real ear-bashing over these plans for world domination. As it is, he can expect a few left hooks to the ribs from the major promoters. So the gloves are off.

Could it also be that the Taiwanese construction billionaire, 62, is building a platform from which he will bid for an even bigger prize, the presidency of the International Olympic Committee, when Jacques Rogge steps down next year? A would-be king of the rings, as well as the ring?

Coe impressed with press

Lord Coe's arrival as chairman of the British Olympic Association is a major reason why the organisation's highly effective American communications chief, Darryl Siebel, has decided to stay on for Rio 2016 instead of returning as scheduled to the US Olympic HQ in Colorado.

Last week Coe, who has had his share of tabloid treatment in the past, still hailed the British press last week as being "the best and most forensic in the world". Pity he was not called to give evidence by Lord Leveson.

At a Sports Lobby Group reception journos presented him with a framed copy of the front page of the French sports newspaper L'Equipe published the day after London won the 2012 bid over Paris, with the headline: Pourquoi Londres? Now they know why.

Knees up for Chunky

The Olympic gold medallist James DeGale, who can take a step towards the world super-middleweight title when he fights Colombian Fulgencio Zuniga in a Channel 5-televised bout in Hull on Saturday, reveals he has been on his knees this past year. Or rather, one of them.

The England football team physio, Gary Lewin, has been called in to treat his left knee – an injury, DeGale says, which explains why he spent so much time on the ropes in his past two contests: "It was driving me mad. I couldn't bend it properly so I had to stand square with my back to the ropes. But it's much better now."

Victory over Zuniga, 35, will earn DeGale the WBC silver belt, a sort of junior version of the world title held by the hard-hitting Andre Ward, rated the world's best fighter.

Hearn won't play ball

West Ham look set to be named as the preferred bidder for the Olympic Stadium this week thanks to some intensive lobbying of mayor Boris Johnson and the London Legacy Development Corporation by the Hammers' feisty chief executive, Karren Brady – but extra time still looms, with Barry Hearn, who wants Leyton Orient to ground-share on alternate weeks, threatening to seek a judicial review.

The ubiquitous Hearn is defending a High Court action brought against him, his son Eddie and boxer Tony Bellew by rival promoter Frank Warren, who alleges that Bellew broke a contract with him when switching to the Hearns' Matchroom stable. Seconds out!

a.hubbard@independent.co.uk

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