Boxing: AIBA Women's World Championships set to be postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic

Lovlina Borgohain at the Tokyo Olympics medal ceremony. Buda Mendes/Getty Images

The AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships scheduled next month in Turkey could be postponed because of the high COVID-19 case load being registered in the country, a spokesperson of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) told PTI on Tuesday.

The decision to postpone the championships could be announced anytime this week. The tournament was tentatively planned from December 4 to 18 in Istanbul.

"It is highly likely that the world championship would be postponed as many countries have expressed reservations about travelling to Turkey because of the COVID cases there," an AIBA spokesperson told PTI in a telephonic conversation.

"There has already been a round-table on this involving AIBA President Umar Kremlev during which several countries have expressed their apprehension. A decision on this will be announced very soon this week. We don't want a depleted field because of the pandemic," the spokesperson added.

The event could be held in the first half of next year. Turkey logged 27,824 COVID cases on Monday. The country also reported 187 deaths on the day because of the deadly infection that has wreaked havoc for the past two years. The surge in cases has been attributed to the delta variant of the virus.

India was to be represented by reigning national champions in all weight categories except for the 70kg division, in which Olympic bronze-medallist Lovlina Borgohain has been given direct selection. Her direct selection has been opposed by national gold-winner and world youth champion Arundhati Choudhary, who has taken the matter to Delhi High Court.

However, a postponement would, in all likelihood, force trial bouts across weight categories.

For the first time ever, the AIBA announced a prize money fund of USD 2.4 million for medal winners across 12 weight categories. The prize for first place has been kept at USD 100,000. The silver-medallists would receive USD 50,000 and both bronze winners in each weight category would be richer by USD 25,000.

The world body had also announced that AIBA Extraordinary Congress would be held during the championships, and major reforms of the organisation will be announced.

In July, AIBA increased the women's weight categories from 10 to 12. The new divisions are 48kg, 50kg, 52kg, 54kg, 57kg, 60kg, 63kg, 66kg, 70kg, 75kg, 81kg, and +81kg.

The world body recently conducted the men's world championship in Belgrade and even welcomed fans into the arena.