Olympic Boxing Body Considers Skirts for Women Competitors

Boxing gloves, check. Headguard, check. Mouthguard, check. Miniskirt?

After winning a long fight to get into the Olympics, women boxers are at the center of a dress code debate ahead of the 2012 London Games, including whether they should wear skirts in the ring.

The International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) said Friday that officials will meet in January to discuss the issue and draw up recommendations.

"AIBA is seeking a consensus from the worldwide boxing family and the wider public for reference purposes," the statement said.

The federation was responding to recent media reports suggesting that women boxers would be forced to fight in skirts rather than shorts.

"AIBA has not made any final decision on boxers' uniform for women," the governing body insisted.

Women's boxing will be making its Olympic debut in London after being accepted on the program by the International Olympic Committee in August 2009.

AIBA suggested to its national federations last year that wearing skirts would help the women stand out from the men's competitions.

It was an idea that brought to mind FIFA President Sepp Blatter's much-maligned suggestion in 2004 that women footballers should wear "tighter shorts" to increase the game's popularity.

Blatter's proposal was met with widespread criticism and AIBA's idea has not found much support either.

At the European Championships held in the Netherlands last month, only fighters from Poland and Romania wore skirts.

"I won't be wearing a miniskirt," Ireland's three-time world champion Katie Taylor told the BBC last week. "I don't even wear miniskirts on a night out, so I definitely won't be wearing miniskirts in the ring."

AIBA said Friday that women fighters currently had a free choice about what to wear in the ring.

The policy will be scrutinized again when London stages Olympic boxing test events Nov. 24-27 at the ExCeL arena.

Women boxers are set to compete in three weight classes in the Olympics, with 12 competitors each fighting for flyweight, lightweight and middleweight medals.

Women's boxing was rejected as an Olympic sport in 2005 after the IOC said it failed to reach standards of medical safety and universality.