Boxing at Tokyo 2020

Venue: Kokugikan Arena

Competition Dates: July 24- August 1, August 3-8, 2021 (Days 1-9, 11-16)

Events: 13 (8 men, 5 women)

National Federation: Boxing Canada

International Federation: International Boxing Association (AIBA)

*On June 26, 2019, the International Olympic Committee suspended its recognition of AIBA due to issues regarding the finances and governance of the international federation. The IOC Executive Board created the Boxing Task Force with the mandate to organize and ensure the delivery of Olympic qualification events for boxing and the boxing tournament at Tokyo 2020. 

At its core, boxing is a contest in which two combatants engage hand-to-hand for sport. There are 13 events, divided into weight classes:

• Men: Flyweight (52kg), Featherweight (57kg), Lightweight (63kg), Welterweight (69kg), Middleweight (75kg), Light Heavyweight (81kg), Heavyweight (91kg), Super Heavyweight (+91kg)

• Women: Flyweight (51kg), Featherweight (57kg), Lightweight (60kg), Welterweight (69kg) and Middleweight (75kg)

Lewis, Lennox

The competition is run as a single elimination bracket. A draw determines opponents, but top-ranked boxers are seeded to ensure they do not meet in the early rounds. The losers of the semifinal bouts do not face each other in a bronze medal bout; instead both are awarded bronze medals.

Men’s bouts are comprised of three 3-minute rounds. Women’s bouts are four 2-minute rounds. There is a one minute rest period between rounds.

There are five judges for each bout, each given a randomly selected position around the ring. Before each bout, the Scoring System randomly selects the three judges whose scores will be the only ones counted. At the end of each round, each judge must determine who won that round, awarding 10 points to the winner and six to nine points to the loser. A score of 10-9 indicates a close round, while a score of 10-6 means the losing boxer was overmatched. At the end of a bout, the boxer with the higher total score is the winner in either a unanimous or split decision.

Among the things the judges assess are the number of quality blows to the target area, domination of the bout, competitiveness, superiority of tactics and technique as well as any infringement of the rules.

Middleweight Mary Spencer fighting at London 2012 (Photo: CP)

Canada’s Olympic History (Pre-Tokyo 2020)

Canada has a rich history of success that dates back to Antwerp 1920, where Canadian athletes walked away with five medals. Welterweight Albert Schneider won gold, bantamweight Cliff Graham and middleweight Art Prud’homme each took home silver medals, lightweight Clarence Newton and middleweight Moe Herscovitch each won bronze. That was the first of four Games at which Canada won multiple boxing medals, later doing so at Los Angeles 1984 (3), Seoul 1988 (3) and Barcelona 1992 (2).

The next time Canada won gold was at Los Angeles 1932, courtesy of bantamweight Horace “Lefty” Gwynne. It would be 52 years before Canada won another boxing medal, when heavyweight Willie de Wit and light middleweight Shawn O’Sullivan won silver, the latter in a controversial loss to American Frank Tate, and bantamweight Dale Walters won bronze.

One of Canada’s most recognizable athletes, super heavyweight Lennox Lewis, won gold at Seoul 1988, which included a defeat of American Riddick Bowe. Middleweight Egerton Marcus and light middleweight Raymond Downey each stood on the podium as well at Seoul 1988. Canada’s most recent boxing medal was a silver by heavyweight David Defiagbon at Atlanta 1996.

Mary Spencer became the first Canadian woman to compete in Olympic boxing when women’s events were added to the program at London 2012.