Irish Olympian Darren O'Neill has warned there could be a "downfall" in boxing if the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) does not accept recommended reforms at an extraordinary AGM in Roscommon this Sunday.
A 75% majority in favour in the relevant vote will be required to pass motions, with the stakes incredibly high.
Earlier on Thursday, Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers said there will be an immediate cut to funding and further sanctions throughout the year if the IABA does not accept recommended reforms.
The minister met with the IABA on Wednesday night after months of controversy surrounding reforms needed in the organisation in the wake of the resignation of the high performance unit director Bernard Dunne.
Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, he said the sport's current success is being overshadowed by governance difficulties and the dysfunction identified in the McNiece report, and that there is an opportunity for members to embrace reform.
Minister Chambers added that if they embrace the reforms, there will be monthly meetings with Sport Ireland and a three-month process around developing an implementation plan. If they do not accept the reforms, there will be immediate cuts.
Back in May Dunne left his role as the IABA's high performance director. His exit stemmed from a complaint he lodged against two volunteers in October 2021 after an unsigned SWOT analysis critical of his performance was circulated at board level prior to the Tokyo Games, where Ireland's boxers would deliver a gold (Kellie Harrington) and a bronze (Aidan Walsh).
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, O'Neill - who fought for Ireland at the 2012 London Games - warned that the sport's very existence is at stake ahead of Sunday's vote.
"It really is crunch time," he said.
"I'm not really sure Minister Chambers' directive has been ordered correctly. I'd have liked to have seen the votes go through, and see how the land lies then. Give them a chance to change their behaviour and change the processes that are going on.
"Then if it didn't improve, of course pull back the funding and so on and so forth. The IABA need to sort themselves out.
"At the end of the day, while we're the most successful Olympic sport we have, we're probably the least successful in terms of governance and camaraderie within the sport.
"Essentially it's the sport and the boxers who are going to lose out."
"We should be trying to support the boxers, give them the opportunities they deserve that they are working so hard far, and forget this mé féiner attitude that some of these elected officials seem to have."
O'Neill said he fears the health of grassroots boxing clubs around the country is not being fully considered in the current fallout.
"I know an awful lot of funding comes to the IABA from the government and Sport Ireland but not an awful lot of that dribbles down to clubs.
"I think we've heard the minister say it's not going to affect the high performance athletes themselves.
"That may be true, it won't affect them immediately, but in five years' time, three years' time, even in six months' time, where are the high performance boxers coming from? They're coming from the clubs. If they are not getting this support they need in the clubs we are going to see a knock-on effect and a downfall in boxing."
On the vote itself, O'Neill added: "I'd like to think it would (pass) but I just don't see it happening. I'm not too confident that it's actually going to pass.
"I think there is an appetite (for change) from the clubs. If you talk to club members, if you talk to the country clubs, or even the city clubs, they do want change. They want better opportunities for their boxers.
"We should be trying to leave the sport in a better place. Without the boxers, there is no boxing, simple as that.
"You'd be just worried the popularity or the uptake in membership will decrease int the coming years. We have to wait and see how the voting goes. If there are changes in the leadership or the representative, how will they affect change? What are they going to do to improve he system that's there at the minute?
"We should be trying to promote the sport right across all demographics. We should be trying to support the boxers, give them the opportunities they deserve that they are working so hard far, and forget this mé féiner attitude that some of these elected officials seem to have."