Boxing hopefuls dealt major blow in quest for Olympic qualification
Lovintz Tota and Adrian Roach have been dealt a major blow in their Olympic Games aspirations after the cancellation of the Americas boxing qualifier because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions concerns.
The pair, who train out of Controversy Gym, were scheduled to compete in an qualifying event at the Technopolis in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from May 10 to 16.
Middleweight Tota, 35, and 18-year-old welterweight Roach were vying for spots in Tokyo this summer with the top three competitors in each weight class earning qualification.
However, owing to a spike in Covid-19 cases and the detection of new variants, tighter restrictions have been brought in across South America, including Argentina.
As a result it has been deemed that hosting the competition in the nation’s capital city would prove too much of a logistical challenge, according to the International Olympic Committee and Boxing Task Force.
Qualification for the Games will now be decided via BTF rankings, with the last-chance world qualifier already cancelled.
"In recent weeks, tighter travel restrictions and lockdowns have been implemented across the region, which have significantly disrupted international travel and pose logistical challenges to teams travelling to and from Buenos Aires, jeopardising their ability to participate in the event," the BTF said.
"Given the nature of the event as an Olympic qualifier which will award a large number of direct quota places for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, ensuring fair access and a safe environment for all athletes and officials is of the greatest importance.
"Unfortunately, the current situation in the region does not provide the assurances needed for these principles to be followed at the event scheduled in Buenos Aires.
"For this reason, after a thorough assessment and consultations with teams, the BTF’s athlete ambassadors and boxing experts plus the Organising Committee, the BTF has decided to cancel the event and restructure the Tokyo 2020 qualification pathway for the Americas region."
As a result of the cancellation, the BTF has announced that all 49 quota places would remain exclusive to athletes who had been registered for the Buenos Aires event. Those places will be allocated via BTF rankings in accordance with section D3 of the Tokyo 2020 Qualification System for boxing, dated for March 2021, the BTF confirmed.
The reallocation of an additional 13 quota places originally due to be obtained at the global qualifier, which was cancelled in February, will be conducted after the allocation of the 49 quota spots.
The updated version of the qualification system for the Games will be published once approved by the IOC Executive Board, expected by May 7.