IABA claim ‘did the right thing’ in the case of 12 year old Chloe Black

IABA vice president Joe Hennigan claims the organisation believe they ‘done the right thing’ when preventing 12 year old Chloe Black from competing in a National Final at the National Stadium last Friday night.

Having fought her way to the decider, winning a quarter and semi final, the Tullow BC youngster was pulled out of the decider by the Irish governing body at the very last minute because of her history in Muay Thai.

The decision has been widely criticized in Ireland and indeed further afield with most expressing sympathy for the talented youngster with Katie Taylor style aspirations and anger toward the IABA.

The IABA confirmed they were acting on a rule that has been in place for seven years and enforced by the world governing body the AIBA.

Speaking on Live Line this week Vice President Hennigan explained that once a letter complaint was received with regard to the Carlow fighter the IABA had no choice but to act.

Hennigan did express sympathy, but believes the right course of action was taken. He also suggests the decision was out of their hands once a complaint was registered and the IABA were made aware of the fighters dual history.

“it wasn’t a disqualification as such. I haven’t seen Chloe boxing but from what I have been told she is a very good girl and is a very experienced girl as well. Our problem is there was an official complaint sent in and when a complaint is sent in we have to act on that complaint,” Hennigan said on the National airwaves.

“It was then we found out Chloe was involved with this other sport(Mhuay Thai).

“We are in a no win situation there. I feel sorry for Chloe, but I think we made the right decision. We have a boss as well which is the European World body (AIBA) and we have to go on their guidelines and they sent a letter to us saying you can not take part in another active (individual combat) sport while your in amateur boxing.”


Hennigan revealed the rule which is set by the AIBA was made clear to all clubs in recent weeks and revealed it was there for safety reasons.

The thinking behind the rule seems to be that serious competition starts later in boxing than other sports. In that regard those involved in other combat sports that allow competitive action at an early age are at an advantage, which it’s argued could prove dangerous in boxing.

“There was a letter sent out to all the clubs, councils and county boards with regard to getting involved in kick boxing and all these other sports and clubs were made aware of that.

“Now that was only a couple of weeks ago, but I always had the thing that when your involved in this other sports your building up a lot of experience. Your not supposed to box in amateur boxing at championships level until your 11 years of age. With some of these other sports you can start at 6 or 5. I had an experience with a novice boxer that boxed a kick boxer and I didn’t know he was a kick boxer until after the contest. He stopped the lad and we got into fierce trouble with the other fella’s mother.”

“You can’t come into a club as a novice boxer if you have been involved in other (individual contact sports) because the experience is there. It’s only in the last couple of weeks that this has come to a head. There is nothing we could have done about it. We got a letter of complaint, we got a letter from the European World body and we had to act on that.”

Regardless of the rule there is still widespread hurt over the manner in which it was applied last weekend. Black, who is undefeated as an amateur boxer, was allowed weigh on the morning of her proposed decider, took part in the finals parade and after an initial objection was cleared to box only to be pulled out again as she warmed up to enter the ring.

Tullow BC also argue that the rule which prevented Black from competing wasn’t enforced on others it applied to over the finals weekend.

The Carlow club also claim that they never made a secret of their fighters background in combat sports, going as far as to say their offers to display her record to the IABA were rebuffed because it wasn’t an issue due to Black’s age.

Tullow BC also argue they were not made aware of the rule and claim the notification with regard to it was sent around Thursday and not in the weeks proceeding the National finals.

In terms of Black if she is to box again she has to submit an application to be passed by AIBA.



Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com