The IOC set the stage for a tough sanction for Olympic boxing

The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended this Wednesday to withdraw recognition from the International Boxing Association (IBA) for not complying with the governance reforms previously requested. The decision will be approved at the Special Session on June 22.

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The IBA sanction dates back to 2019 and, despite the irregularities, the IOC maintained boxing in Tokyo 2020.
The IBA sanction dates back to 2019 and, despite the irregularities, the IOC maintained boxing in Tokyo 2020.

The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended withdrawing recognition from the International Boxing Association (IBA) after a meeting held yesterday Wednesday. The matter will be discussed further and a final decision will be made at the Special Session of the parent body of Olympism, which will be held remotely on June 22.

The IOC had suspended the IBA in 2019 for issues of governance, finance, arbitration and ethics and left it out of the organization of boxing events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Irregularities range from a lack of financial transparency to a lack of integrity in arbitration processes. In December 2022, the IOC said that they had not observed the will of the IBA to implement a “drastic change of culture” that would allow the sanction to be lifted.

Yesterday, another link was added to this chain of disagreements with the recommendation of the Board of Directors. In a statement, after internally discussing a 24-page report dated June 2, it was confirmed that the IBA had not met the conditions established to lift the suspension: “Despite the various opportunities that were given to it, including the roadmap from 2021 to 2023 to address the various concerns with real and effective evolution, the IBA could not provide the elements that would have allowed the lifting of its suspension,” the report says.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic tournament and the Paris 2024 Olympic tournament were organized with the IBA set aside.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic tournament and the Paris 2024 Olympic tournament were organized with the IBA set aside.

However, the discipline will continue to stand for Paris 2024, since in the statement the Board of Directors asks to keep it on the calendar of the Olympic Games next year “in the interest of athletes”. Regarding Los Angeles 2028, boxing was left out of the initial program and if included in the future, the IBA will not be able to take part in the organization either.

In response to concerns about the future of boxing in the Olympic program, a federation called World Boxing was launched with priorities that include keeping the sport “at the heart of the Olympic Movement”. USA Boxing and SwissBoxing are two National Federations that left the IBA to join World Boxing, while the Dutch Boxing Federation and Boxing New Zealand indicated that they are likely to follow.

The IBA described World Boxing as a “rebel organization” and suspended the National Federations of New Zealand, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands because of their connections with the organization.

With discipline on the brink of Olympic elimination, the IBA told the IOC that it had met its reform criteria and that any prohibition had no legal basis. The president of the organization, Umar Kremlev, said: “We have made the International Boxing Association new, transparent, clean, and our successes were publicly recognized by independent international experts and there is only one organization that has no interest in recognizing our tremendous progress.”