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International Boxing Association approves investigation, opens disciplinary action against Boxing Canada

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The International Boxing Association announced its directors approved an investigation of widespread abuse claims levelled against Boxing Canada and former high-performance director Daniel Trepanier.

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In a press release issued Wednesday, the IBA also said it has “opened a disciplinary procedure against Boxing Canada.”

The allegations were made in a May 4 open letter signed by current and former athletes, coaches, officials and provincial organizations. The signatories claimed a “toxic culture of fear and silence” exists within Boxing Canada and they demanded the immediate resignation of Trepanier, as well as a Sport Canada investigation.

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Trepanier’s resignation was announced by Boxing Canada four days later.

“Many athletes feel they have suffered physical abuse, psychological abuse, and neglect by the organization because of their failure to address these issues,” the open letter stated. “Repeated attempts have been made to bring these issues to light, and they have been ignored or dismissed. For example, last year, a comprehensive collection of the experiences of Boxing Canada’s athletes was submitted to the Board of Directors in the form of a confidential memorandum. No formal investigation was launched to look into allegations.”

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The IBA directors discussed the allegations Wednesday during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, ahead of the organization’s extraordinary congress to be held Friday and Saturday. The directors then approved an investigation “in order to safeguard members of the boxing community in line with the IBA anti-harassment and abuse policy” and also opened a disciplinary procedure.

In response to the measures taken by the IBA on Wednesday, a Boxing Canada spokesperson said a recent statement made by president Ryan Savage “still stands” as the organization’s official position.

“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. 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,” Savage said.

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That statement was first made by Savage on May 6 in response to a prior action taken by the IBA. Secretary-general István Kovács informed Savage that Trepanier, who had not yet resigned his position, would not be granted accreditation for the women’s world championships being held in Istanbul. Boxing Canada said subsequently that Trepanier was not planning to attend.

Kovács also told Savage the IBA was gathering information about Boxing Canada’s response to prior complaints of abuse to forward to the IBA ethics committee.

Two days later, Boxing Canada announced that Trepanier had resigned, effective immediately.

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