Skirts off for Olympics

WORLD amateur boxing chiefs AIBA have strongly indicated they will not make it compulsory for female boxers to wear skirts at the 2012 Olympics.

The AIBA Technical and Rules Commission will meet next January and the issue will be discussed. It is expected the commission will announce female boxers will have the option of wearing either regular knee-length shorts or skirts in London.

AIBA have suggested wearing skirts in the ring would help female pugilists stand out from their male counterparts. But some of the world’s top female boxers, including Ireland’s Katie Taylor, have poured cold water on the idea, although the Polish and Romanian teams wore skirts at last month’s European Championships.

Female boxing will make its debut at the 2012 Olympics more than 100 years after male boxing became a modern Olympic sport at the 1904 Games in St Louis.

However, only three weight categories, flyweight, lightweight and middle-weight, are reserved for female boxers at the 2012 Games, as opposed to 10 weight categories for men.

The May 2010 AIBA World Championships in China, where Katie Taylor will be aiming for her fourth title in-a row, will act as the only Olympic qualifier for women boxers.

Meanwhile Cork’s rich boxing heritage was recalled last night with the launch Leeside Legends — The Cork Boxing Story which covers the history of boxing in Cork from 1800 to 2011 in detail.

The book is the result of some painstaking research by Willie O’Leary and his fellow members of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association and contains many historical pictures that provide an invaluable review of the sport on Leeside.

It tells the story of Jack McAuliffe whose career stretched back to the bare knuckle days of boxing. He won 200 contests as an amateur before turning professional and was then undefeated for 13 years — 10 of those as world champion.

The career of Jack Doyle is told by men who knew him personally and friends recall the careers of other stars including Gunner Murray and Mick Leahy who had the young Cassius Clay at ringside when he stripped George Aldridge of the British middleweight title in 1963 and went on to earn a points decision over Sugar Ray Robinson in Paisley before turning in the performance of his life against the three-time Olympic champion, Laszlo Papp, for the European title in Vienna in 1964.

Many of the stars featured were present last night for the launch at An Spailpín Fánach, on Cork’s South Main Street.

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