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The International Boxing Union (1913–1946): a European sports and/or political failure?

Loudcher, Jean-François and Day, Dave (2013) The International Boxing Union (1913–1946): a European sports and/or political failure? The international journal of the history of sport, 30 (17). pp. 2016-2030. ISSN 1743-9035

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Abstract

In 1913, some interested Frenchmen, aided by a Belgian launched the International Boxing Union (IBU), the only body whose primary purpose was to govern the sport at a world level. In the immediate post-war years, this initiative, continuously driven by Frantz Reichel and Paul Rousseau, foundered despite the brief participation of the English, through the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC), and of some Americans. But the IBU could never establish a monopoly over the diverse international community involved in professional boxing. The USA, in particular, was itself unable to regulate the sport at a national level and this helped confine the IBU to having a purely European role. The involvement of the fascist powers of Italy and Germany and the improvement in relations between the BBBC and the IBU reinforced this continental perspective as did the failure of the World pugilistic congress at Rome in 1938 to establish an unified international organization. The Second World War witnessed the final transformation of the IBU into a European organization under Italian control. In reality, though, the change of name in 1946 to the European Boxing Union was merely the final confirmation of a transformation that had occurred many years before.

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