Four days after dozens of Canadian boxers wrote an open letter to Sport Canada calling for the resignation of Daniel Trepanier, Boxing Canada’s high-profile CEO has resigned.

Boxing Canada president Ryan Savage made the announcement on Sunday, saying the sport’s organization will work with provincial governing bodies to form a search committee in the coming weeks to hire a new high-performance director.

“It’s a great day for boxing,” said 11-time bantamweight national champion Mandy Bujold.

Wednesday’s letter, signed by 121 current and retired boxers – a number that more than doubled in a matter of days – spoke of a toxic culture within the federation.

Three-time world champion Mary Spencer was one of the most outspoken, saying:[Trépanier] should have been fired a long time ago.”

Wednesday is not the first time Canadian boxers have called for Trepanier to be fired.

In a 2014 letter obtained by The Canadian Press, the coaches and athletes of the national team wrote: “We the coaches and athletes of the national team do not want to work with Daniel Trepanier anymore. The coaches and boxers do not want him in the corners in competitions and training they don’t want him to organize educational gatherings.

“He is not fit to lead a high quality Canadian boxing program.”

Bujold said Sunday’s news was bittersweet.

“I think that’s a big deal, why did it take us so long to get here?” he said. “I just hope that whatever they do going forward, they put a structure in place so that this doesn’t happen again.”

IBA Concern plans to review the claims

The protest attracted the attention of the International Boxing Association, which withdrew Trepanier’s accreditation from the women’s world championships, which began in Istanbul on Sunday.

“The open letter … is of grave concern,” IBA general secretary Istvan Kovacs said in an email to Boxing Canada on Friday. “There can be no place for athlete abuse in our sport and we ask for your cooperation in achieving this.

“The protection of boxers and the boxing community more broadly is and will remain a priority for the current IBA management team.”

Kovacs said the IBA’s chief integrity officer and ethics committee would look into the allegations made in the letter.

Athletes described a hostile environment of homophobic, misogynistic and sexist comments. They wrote about safety concerns, including having to fight despite concussion symptoms, and said there is a lack of impartiality around things like dispersal of funds and widespread favoritism that clouds decisions around team selection.

“It’s a real problem when the most prolific director of the national boxing federation is openly against women’s boxing,” Spencer told The Canadian Press. “When you’re preparing, someone’s opinion shouldn’t get in your way, but when you’re working with him, his relationship with women becomes a huge obstacle.”

Spencer was one of Canada’s medal favorites ahead of the 2012 London Olympics and claimed that Trepanier took part of the $140,000 she received from the podium holder for training to send her to an Irish camp ahead of the Games, where there were no female athletes. has spent with

“It showed in my performance. When I found out a few months later that one of the two boxers had turned pro. [Trépanier] His personal trainer, I was mad,” Spencer said. “My trainer at the time sent a letter to Boxing Canada to say. [them] what happened and how we got crazy. Until today, I have not heard anything from them.”

Bujold, a two-time Olympic and two-time Pan American Games champion, recently retired from boxing and said it’s nerve-wracking to think about what his career could have been with stronger leadership.

“I think about it all the time,” said the 34-year-old from Kitchener, Ont. “It’s still hard not to look back and think: what if I had my own coach in my corner? If I had people around me to support me in those big moments, like when I was at home. You go into those big tournaments and you have to fight Daniel in your corner, even though we didn’t want him there.

“It was tough. In boxing, you have to have that connection with the trainer.”

The issues mentioned in the previous letter were found in the study

The 2014 letter cited conflicts of interest between his various roles, lack of coaching development and poor communication, among other issues.

A 2016 study commissioned by Own the Podium and Boxing Canada gave the high-profile program rave reviews. Part of the summary states that Boxing Canada “has remained on a global footing during a period of significant change to its sport.”

Boxing Canada’s board of directors held emergency meetings this weekend to further improve transparency and governance, Savage said in a statement.

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The board, he said, reiterated the high-quality advisory board, the restoration of the committee to ensure communication with regional authorities, the mandatory training of safe sports for coaches and staff and the separation of the high-quality role from the coaching duties.

“The Board of Directors has decided to expedite the work of a third-party expert engaged in March 2022 to conduct a cultural review of the High Performance Program to ensure that athletes and coaches excel in an optimal training environment,” Savage said. .

Global Athlete CEO Rob Koehler said an independent investigation is still important and should be signed off on by athletes.

“This is the only way justice will be served, those who will be held accountable and the process of gaining the confidence of the athletes through transparency and accountability will begin,” he said on Sunday.

Three-time Canadian heavyweight champion Brian Colwell said he was pleased to have “taken the first step.”

“I hope this leads to a rebuilding of the program that reflects the diversity of our Canadian athletes,” he said. “Canada is a great country with a lot of great fighters. Boxing is coming back.”

Boxing’s letter comes amid what Sports Minister Pascal St-Onge has called a “sports safety crisis” in Canada.

Dozens of bobsleigh and skeleton athletes have written a similar open letter, calling for the resignations of acting president Sarah Storey and outspoken CEO Chris Le Behan. They stay in their positions.

Hundreds of former and current gymnasts have called on Sport Canada to launch a third-party investigation into their sport.

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