Four months after winning gold at the World Championships in Istanbul, Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke are still waiting for the $100,000 prize money to be paid out by the International Boxing Association (IBA).
There is growing concern about the process for paying this prize money, given IBA’s financial health and dependence on its main sponsor Gazprom, the Russian-majority state-owned gas giant currently under a series of sanctions due to the war in Ukraine.
This, in turn, affected IBA’s bank accounts and access to funds, including $2.4 million in total prize money that was announced on the back of Gazprom’s sponsorship of the World Championships in May, the first time that bonus money has been given at a women’s tournament. . .
It included $100,000 each for the weight class gold medal winners, $50,000 to win the silver, and $25,000 to win the bronze (which happens twice in boxing since there is no fourth place).
Irish boxers won gold medals within half an hour of each other, Broadhurst first in lightweight and then O’Rourke in lightweight, taking ownership of the opening night of the finals held at Sinan Erdem Dom in Istanbul.
They won by unanimous and split decisions consecutively to become world champions for the first time in their careers, and instantly richer by $100,000; Or so they thought.
The Irish Boxing Association (IABA) confirmed to The Irish Times on Friday that it had had “ongoing contact” with the IBA since last May in an effort to secure a transfer of prize money to Broadhurst and O’Rourke – $200,000 total – but to no avail.
Correspondence seen by The Irish Times between USA Boxing and the IBA reveals a similar wait for prize money for gold medal winner Rashida Ellis. She is also worth $100,000 after winning the lightweight title in Istanbul in the absence of injured Olympic champion Kelly Harrington in that division. USA Boxing has filed four requests for clarification on the matter with payments totaling $185,000 due to the American boxers still owed.
The IBA has made it clear to its member associations that the prize money will be transferred via one transfer to each of the successful boxers’ accounts, once bank details have been verified and anti-doping requirements are met. This was expected to take several weeks, although certainly not several months.
In response to clarification of the matter, the WBA said by email on Friday that “the first medalists in Istanbul have already received their prize money” and “the process will be completed within the next few days for whoever won a medal at the Women’s World Boxing Championships.” IBA.”
These statements have been made before, including by USA Boxing. Ciara Plunkett, IABA’s Communications and Inclusion Officer, says her most recent contact with the IBA was 10 days ago. “We have been in constant contact with the IBA, since May, and we have not set a date or indication of when the money will be transferred. Our understanding is that all the other associations are left in a similar situation.”
When asked if the IABA was sure the prize money would be paid, she said, “We’ll have no good indication, at this point, of how that might turn out either way.”
O’Rourke is trained with her sister Ovi by Mike Monghan, the head coach of the Olympic Boxing Club of Galway. She turned 20 on the same weekend as the tournament in Istanbul and has yet to receive funding from Sport Ireland, and the outstanding prize money is clearly going a long way in her young career.
“that they [IBA] We were talking first about waiting for anti-doping, to make sure all the winners are clean, but I think they’re putting it on the long finger now,” says Mongan. “The sponsor is Gazprom, being Russian, I don’t know what that might have to do with that.
“But it’s definitely fishy at this point. It’s a life-changing amount of money for Lisa and Amy, and I think they’re getting ready to prepare for some disappointment.”
The Gazprom deal was reported to be worth about $31 million to the IBA, and is set to expire at the end of December. Gazprom is 38 percent owned by the Kremlin, two other Russian companies with an additional 12 percent. Last March, the European Union banned all investments in Russia’s energy sector, including Gazprom. The US and UK governments have also imposed sanctions on Gazprom.
Since December 2017, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suspended all funding to the International Boxing Association, which last year dropped all references to the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA).
The delay in handing out the prize money comes against the backdrop of the recent fight to keep boxing in the Olympics, as the International Professional League organized an extraordinary conference on Sunday, September 25, in Yerevan in Armenia where incumbent President Omar Kremlev is set to be faced by the Dutch. Boxing Association President Boris van der Furst.
A letter from the International Olympic Committee to the International Bar last week highlighted concerns about Gazprom’s “financial dependency” and an “increasing” role for the presidential office in Moscow. A final decision on boxing’s inclusion in the 2028 Games will be made in Los Angeles this March. It is currently not part of the Olympic program outside of Paris.