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Boxing Canada high-performance director resigns amid claims of toxic culture, including homophobia and sexism

The resignation took place days after 121 current and retired Canadian boxers endorsed an open letter to Sport Canada.

Sylvester Stallone opens exhibition Photo by Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty Images

Daniel Trépanier—Boxing Canada’s longtime high-performance director—has resigned following claims of a toxic culture within the federation.

The announcement was made by Boxing Canada’s president Ryan Savage Sunday, adding that the federation will organize a search committee to hire a new high-performance director in the coming weeks.

The move comes just days after 121 current and retired Canadian boxers signed an open letter stating that Boxing Canada cultivated an abusive environment for its athletes.

“There has been a consistent trend for over a decade where Boxing Canada athletes and coaches who spoke out against wrongdoing or advocated for what is right end up outside of the organization,” the letter said. “Many athletes feel they have suffered physical abuse, psychological abuse, and neglect by the organization because of their failure to address these issues. Repeated attempts have been made to bring these issues to light, and they have been ignored or dismissed.”

The letter also claimed that homophobic and sexist comments were commonplace within the high-performance program. They also noted that the federation ignored allegations of sexual misconduct and forced boxers to spar despite concussion symptoms.

The open letter wasn’t the first time that Canadian boxers have called for Trépanier’s resignation. In a letter obtained by The Canadian Press in 2014, athletes and national team coaches revealed that Trépanier “is not fit to lead the Canadian high Performance Boxing Program.”

The mistreatment of amateur athletes extends beyond the world of boxing. Earlier this year, more than 400 former and current gymnasts called for an investigation into their sport, while dozens of bobsled and skeleton athletes wrote an open letter demanding the resignation of the federation’s leadership, including its acting president and high-performance director. However, both remain in their positions.