Boxing

International boxing federation opens disciplinary procedure against Boxing Canada

The International Boxing Association is launching an investigation into Boxing Canada after athletes' claims of widespread abuse.

Former high-performance director recently resigned over claims of 'toxic culture'

The International Boxing Association opened its disciplinary procedures against Boxing Canada on Thursday amid claims of widespread abuse. (Ueslei Marcelino/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

The International Boxing Association is launching an investigation into Boxing Canada after athletes' claims of widespread abuse.

The IBA's directors approved the move, "in order to safeguard members of the boxing community in line with the IBA anti-harassment and abuse policy."

A disciplinary procedure has also been opened against Boxing Canada.

Boxing Canada's high performance director Daniel Trepanier resigned on Sunday, four days after dozens of current and former Canadian boxers — including three-time world champion Mary Spencer and 11-time national champion Mandy Bujold — signed an open letter to Sport Canada about the "toxic culture of fear and silence." They asked for a third-party investigation and Trepanier's resignation.

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The athletes painted a picture of a hostile environment of homophobic, misogynistic and sexist comments. They said there were safety concerns — including being forced to spar despite having concussion symptoms — and said there's a lack of impartiality around things like the dispersal of funds, and rampant favouritism that clouds decisions around team selection.

The IBA pulled Trepanier's accreditation from the women's world championships which began Sunday in Istanbul, although Boxing Canada claimed he hadn't planned to attend the event.

National team coaches and athletes had called for Trepanier's resignation before. In a letter to Boxing Canada in 2014, they wrote: "We the coaches and athletes of the National Team no longer want to work with Daniel Trepanier.

"The coaches and boxers don't want him in corners at competitions and the coaches don't want him to organize the training camps," said the letter, obtained by The Canadian Press. "He is not fit to lead the Canadian High Performance Boxing Program."

A 2016 study commissioned by Own the Podium and Boxing Canada found the high performance program severely lacking. Part of the conclusion said that Boxing Canada has "stood still throughout a period of significant change to their sport in a global context."

A statement Sunday from Boxing Canada president Ryan Savage on Trepanier's resignation criticized the IBA.

"It is important to recall that the International Olympic Committee officially took over the boxing qualification and competition of the 2021 Tokyo Olympic boxing tournament after excluding the IBA," Savage said. "As such, Boxing Canada does not believe that the IBA has the credibility to lead an ethics review until it has resolved its own internal affairs and reinstated by the IOC."

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