IBA abolishes headgear in women's boxing. GETTY IMAGES

The new rule was approved at the recent Executive Board meeting in Sochi and it will come into effect in June. As is already the case in men's boxing, this will equalise conditions and there will be a three-month transition period.

The latest meeting of the International Boxing Association's (IBA) Board of Directors took place on 3 March in Sochi, Russia, where all members took the opportunity to make joint decisions. One of them was to abolish headgear in women's boxing from June. 

For the time being, there will be a transitional period to see how all parties - boxers, coaches, trainers, etc. - adapt to the new rules. The result will be a level playing field with men's boxing, where headgear is not required. This is part of the latest changes to the IBA Technical & Competition Rules. These include changes to the nationality and eligibility of boxers. 

The headgear rule has undergone several changes over the past few decades.. In 1982, for the 1984 Olympic Games, the rule was approved that boxers must wear head guards. However, in 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to abolish headgear in the men's categories. However, headgear will continue to be used in the women's and youth categories. 

After several high-profile studies, experts agreed that serious impact injuries were occurring in areas not protected by headguard. As a result, the rule was lifted for male boxers in 2016. The IBA has now voted to approve the removal of headgear in women's boxing. A three-month trial period has been set. 

The IBA also voted to welcome the Brazilian Boxing Confederation as a new provisional member from March 2024. The Czech Boxing Federation recently joined the IBA. The IBA continues to expand and reach the maximum number of national federations. 

Its International Relations Department is working to create opportunities for athletes in countries where national federations have chosen to leave the IBA and join World Boxing, an unrecognised organisation.

Other changes to the IBA Technical and Competition Rules include: Officials, once certified, will be directly affiliated with the IBA, ensuring their eligibility to officiate in IBA competitions regardless of the membership status of their national federation. 

Finally, Feofaaki Epenisa (Tonga) was appointed to represent the Oceania Boxing Confederation and Ingrit Valencia (Colombia) to represent the American Boxing Confederation on the IBA Athletes Committee.