IBA stripped of boxing world governing body status by IOC

IBA president Umar Kremlev has called the IOC board's recommendation "truly abhorrent and purely political"| Photo Credit: Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters

BOXING IBA stripped of boxing world governing body status by IOC

Shafic Kiyaga 16:13 - 22.06.2023

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has voted to revoke the International Boxing Association's (IBA) status as the world governing body for the sport.

The move comes after the IBA failed to implement necessary reforms following its suspension in 2019 due to governance issues and alleged corruption.

Out of 70 valid votes, 69 were in favour of the IOC executive board's recommendation during a general meeting on Thursday.

The IOC's concerns regarding the IBA's finance, governance, ethics, refereeing, and judging led to the decision to organize boxing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics independently.

The IOC will also oversee the sport's organization for the upcoming Paris 2024 Games.

Although initially omitted from the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic program, IOC Director General Christophe de Kepper assured during the 140th session that boxing will be included in the competition.

While the final program for the Los Angeles 2028 Games will be determined by the IOC in October, IOC President Thomas Bach emphasized that the issue lies not with the boxers themselves but with the need for an international federation that upholds integrity and transparency.

The IOC's decision aims to ensure that boxers are governed by an organization that meets these standards.

"We do not have a problem with boxing. We do not have a problem with boxers,” Thomas Bach said.

"The boxers fully deserve to be governed by an international federation with integrity and transparency."

In April this year, World Boxing – a breakaway international federation – was formed.

On Tuesday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed the IBA's appeal against the recommendation made by the executive board.

Reacting to the decision, the IBA described it as "truly abhorrent and purely political."

Why was the IBA voted out of IOC boxing?

In 2022, an independent investigation led by Professor Richard McLaren revealed a troubling history of bout manipulation, including incidents during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The report also exposed decades of financial mismanagement, rule violations in the ring, and inadequate training programs for officials.

The International Boxing Association (IBA), faced criticism when it lifted its ban on Russian and Belarusian boxers in October at the height of the Russia-Ukraine war.

The decision led to a boycott of the men's and women's World Championships earlier this year by multiple nations, as it violated IOC guidance by allowing Russian and Belarusian boxers to compete under their respective flags.

IBA President Umar Kremlev, who assumed office in 2020 and was re-elected in May 2022 unopposed, denounced those boycotting the championships, accusing them of compromising the integrity of sport and culture.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport later ruled that Dutch boxing federation president Boris van der Vorst was wrongly prevented from standing in the election, raising concerns about the fairness of the process.

In response to these issues, World Boxing, a newly formed organization, seeks recognition from the IOC.

However, the recognition process may take up to two years for an entity established just three months ago.

World Boxing has pledged to prioritize the interests of boxers and uphold the sport's place within the Olympic movement.

The interim board of the organization comprises representatives from Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sweden, and the United States.

The International Olympic Committee has expressed "extreme concern" regarding the recent developments, indicating the precarious status of boxing's future as an Olympic sport.

The sport now faces the challenge of restoring its ethical standards, ensuring transparency, and implementing comprehensive reforms to regain the trust of both athletes and the global sporting community.