IBA president Umar Kremlev challenged to live debate in the ring

With the sport in turmoil and boxing’s Olympic future uncertain, Kremlev’s leadership has been questioned by many

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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)

International Boxing Association (IBA) President Umar Kremlev has been asked to step inside the ring by his opponent, but gloves won’t be necessary, just words.

Dutchman Boris van der Vorst issued a video challenge to Kremlev to participate in a live debate ahead of the IBA Extraordinary Congress later this month where elections for the presidency are expected to take place.

“Umar, I know a nice boxing gym in Lausanne. You and me, we still face-to-face, go live and take questions from National Federations, boxers, coaches and from the media. We ask each other a few important questions as well. Let’s do this. Choose the date. I am ready,” said van der Vorst the Dutch Boxing Federation President.

At the first Extraordinary Congress in Turkey in May, van der Vorst was ruled ineligible the day before the election was to take place due to a early campaigning violation. Kremlev ran unopposed and was reelected, however after an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, it was ruled van der Vorst should not have been disqualified as Kremlev was also guilty of the same offense.

A second Extraordinary Congress is scheduled for September 25 in the Armenian capital of Yerevan.

Around the Rings received an email from van der Vorst confirming his intention to run for the IBA presidency and challenge Kremlev to a debate.

Kremlev has been president of the IBA since 2020 and has won two elections in the past two years, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has repeatedly been critical of the IBA and their leadership. Questions about their fiscal responsibility and integrity have plagued the IBA since at least the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Boris van der Vorst ( Foto: Twitter)
Boris van der Vorst ( Foto: Twitter)

In June, the IOC Executive Board ruled the IBA is not in position to run qualifying events and boxing competitions for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games saying in a statement, “the various IOC concerns around the governance of the IBA, including the refereeing and judging process, and its financial dependency on the state-owned company Gazprom are still ongoing.”

Boxing is currently not a part of the LA28 Olympic Games program, although that could change as no final decision has been made by the IOC.

In his video message to Kremlev, van der Vorst noted this saying, “Fortunately the IOC has stepped in again, for the second time in a row, to save the Olympic dreams of our boxers. But with boxing still not on the program for LA28, it’s clear there won’t be a third time.”

Will Kremlev step into the ring for a verbal sparring session with van der Vorst? The future of Olympic boxing may depend on it.