Kremlev reelected as IBA president as IOC continues to question boxing’s Olympic future

After a 24-hour delay, IBA members reelected Russian Umar Kremlev as their president

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Umar Kremlev at AIBA presser in Lausanne on June 28 (AIBA)
Umar Kremlev at AIBA presser in Lausanne on June 28 (AIBA)

On Saturday in Istanbul, Turkey the International Boxing Association (IBA) reelected Umar Kremlev as their president by acclamation.

Kremlev’s only opposition, Dutchman Boris van der Vorst, was deemed ineligible for the election by the Interim Nomination Unit of the Boxing Independent Integrity Unit late last week. Van der Vorst, along with four other candidates for the Board of Directors, were declared ineligible due to “prohibited collaboration and campaigning” according to a statement from the IBA.

The IBA and the sport of boxing are on thin ice with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Kremlev’s reelection over the weekend appears to have nothing to help the IBA’s image with the IOC.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Boxing - Men's Heavyweight - Final - Kokugikan Arena - Tokyo, Japan - August 6, 2021. Julio Cesar La Cruz of Cuba celebrates his win against Muslim Gadzhimagomedov of the Russian Olympic Committee REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Boxing - Men's Heavyweight - Final - Kokugikan Arena - Tokyo, Japan - August 6, 2021. Julio Cesar La Cruz of Cuba celebrates his win against Muslim Gadzhimagomedov of the Russian Olympic Committee REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

“The events surrounding IBA’s general assembly, in particular the elections, merit careful analysis and are just reinforcing the questions and doubts about IBA’s governance,” said the IOC in a statement.

The IOC has expressed concerns for many years about boxing’s integrity and governance, stemming in part from reports of improper judging at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympics. The sport is currently not included in the LA28 Olympic Program.

Kremlev was elected IBA president in 2020 and says he’s the right person to lead the IBA back into the IOC’s favor, however his recent support of Russian president Vladimir Putin and dependance on Russia’s state-owned energy company Gazprom as a sponsor, continues to raise more questions than answers for the IOC.

“The various IOC concerns, including the financial dependency on Gazprom, are still not resolved,” said the IOC. The IOC sent the IBA a strongly-worded letter last week reminding them they are not on the LA28 Olympic Program and have questions about their qualification status for Paris 2024.

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