Sport Now in Danger Of A Terminal Blow

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali - one of the world's greatest sporting figures.

The former world heavyweight boxing champion died aged 74 in June 2016 after losing his battle against Parkinson's disease.

At his peak, he was arguably the most famous man on the planet.

That was boxing's golden era.

Ali's prodigious boxing talent was matched only by a towering self-belief.

"I am the greatest," he said, and who could doubt a man who won the World Heavyweight Championship three times?

His outspoken support for civil rights endeared him to millions of people across the world.

And his career was only going in one direction once he entered the amateur ranks.

What would he make of the sport today?

Shootings at weigh ins?

Too dangerous to public order to have events in Ireland?

For the Irish public who enjoyed Michael Carruth's 1992 Gold medal win in Barcelona, the game had gone full circle by the time Ali died.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Irish boxer Michael Conlon lost out to Russian Vladimir Nikitin in his quarter-final bout on a dubious decision that was widely criticised and made all the more farcical by the fact that the Russian could not take part in his semi-final fight due to injuries inflicted on him by the Irishman.

A furious Conlan gestured with his middle finger towards the judges before calling the AIBA cheats in his post-fight interview. It's a narrative that is now officially supported.

The International Olympic Committee has told amateur boxing's governing body it must solve its governance issues by next month or risk missing Tokyo 2020.

As things like transparency thankfully sweep the world, the IOC expressed its "extreme concern with the grave situation" with the AIBA and its current governance.

AIBA must address its finances, governance and anti-doping issues before its congress in November.

The IOC said AIBA's behaviour "affected the reputation of sport in general".

It also added the body's recognition as a international federation would be "under threat" if it has not made progress by the time the IOC reviews the situation after the congress, which will take place on 2-3 November in Moscow.

It comes after the AIBA on Wednesday banned its former president for life, citing "gross negligence and financial mismanagement".

His successor has been described by the US Treasury Department as "one of Uzbekistan's leading criminals".

In December 2017, the IOC suspended funding for the AIBA until it could prove it had tightened up its governance - a decision it upheld in February.

It looks like the history books will show that when Ali died, boxing as we know it died with him.

RIP boxing.