Boxing has long been considered to be the King of all sports, but it is fair to say that its reputation has been tarnished at times over the years before 2007.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has had its challenges and since my election as the President in 2006, I have worked extremely hard to ensure our sport is honourable, transparent and respected throughout the world.
The huge success of our competitions at London 2012 underlined the huge strides we have made and our faith and passion for the Olympic Movement continued to inspire new generations to take up our sport.
The next 12 months are going to see one of the biggest changes in our sport in its history with the launch of the AIBA Pro Boxing.
For the first time, AIBA pro boxers will get the financial security, the training and support that they need not just in the short term but over a five year period with a guaranteed number of bouts.
The pre-ranking phase will conclude at the end of January next year by producing the APB Inaugural Champions in each weight category who will start facing each other later on that year.
Each boxer signed up to APB will retain the patronage of their national boxing federation, meaning that they can still qualify for the Olympic Games in 2016 with APB being fully supported by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
APB matches will take place all over the world and we are already attracting significant interest from broadcasters, sponsors and commercial partners who understand the value that such a prestigious competition can offer them.
APB is another step in AIBA’s continuing plan to improve the duty of care and support to boxers during their careers. The welfare of boxers is our number one priority and we would expect everyone connected with the sport to support this principle.
As the world governing body of the sport of boxing, AIBA supports boxers from grassroots to the elite and ultimately the pinnacle level of our sport.
APB will attract the very best current professionals from our sport and the fact that several current world high ranking boxers have already joined in APB and expressed their support underlines why we have developed these exciting plans.