The future of Olympic boxing, once again on the ropes

The IOC reiterated that after Paris it will no longer organize the qualifying tournaments and confirmed that the IBA “in no way will be involved” if it remains in the Olympic program in Los Angeles, which caused a strong response from the body chaired by the Russian Umar Kremlev.

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Russian Umar Kremlev, president of the IBA, said that boxing is a victim of the political agenda.
Credit. Getty Images
Russian Umar Kremlev, president of the IBA, said that boxing is a victim of the political agenda. Credit. Getty Images

While the qualification process continues and almost 200 boxers have already qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) once again questioned whether the sport will remain on the Olympic program in Los Angeles 2028 and provoked a strong response from the International Boxing Association (IBA).

After the suspension of the IBA in 2019 for financial irregularities and the investigation into manipulated fights at the Rio 2016 Games, the IOC was responsible for organizing the qualifying tournaments for Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024, although it has already warned that there will not be a third time. This decision was ratified by the organization’s Sports Director, Kit McConnell, at the recent meeting of the Executive Committee in Lausanne.

“If we don’t have a new boxing body to work with in collaboration with the IOC, we won’t be able to include boxing in the Los Angeles program,” said McConnell and confirmed about the IBA: “In no way will it be involved if boxing is part of Los Angeles 2028.”

The statement resulted in an extensive and strong statement from the IBA, in which it stated that “the IOC management is once again trying to destroy the sports family and violate all the rules of clear democracy and transparency... With its statements, it deliberately creates division, uncertainty and instability in the sports community. These individuals, with their actions, force athletes to become ‘slaves’ to this ridiculous situation, while the current IOC leaders continue to take money from our athletes, filling their pockets.”

“The reality and the truth is that there is no alternative to the IBA as a governing body, neither financially, nor in terms of organization and experience. With their statements, the ruling elite of the IOC constantly interferes in the affairs of the IBA and other international sports federations, violating the principles of its own Olympic Charter, freedom of expression and imposing its own fictitious rules,” adds the body chaired by the Russian Umar Kremlev.

Russian Umar Kremlev, president of the International Boxing Association, suspended by the International Olympic Committee in 2019.
Credit. I WAS GOING
Russian Umar Kremlev, president of the International Boxing Association, suspended by the International Olympic Committee in 2019. Credit. I WAS GOING

In the midst of a conflict that has been going on for five years, driven by the United States and Great Britain, World Boxing emerged in April last year, seeking recognition from the IOC and being responsible for keeping the sport in Los Angeles. Little by little, some members have joined the new Federation, which was also mentioned in the IBA statement.

“We have seen that this so-called World Boxing has failed to gather the critical mass or financial support necessary to survive, which has left the rebel organization in a precarious position... The IBA is a totally transparent and free organization, the home of boxing for athletes and coaches. We will always defend our legal rights, protect our athletes and coaches, and we will no longer allow IOC leaders to dictate their terms and interfere in IBA matters,” he said.

“We refuse to allow boxing to become a victim of political agendas. We will maintain the highest standards, even in the face of overlapping tactics. Our commitment remains unwavering: the future of boxing will not be jeopardized. We will use every possible legal method, unlike the IOC, to prove that we are right. We will defend our legal rights, protect our athletes and coaches, and we will no longer allow the IOC to dictate its terms and interfere in IBA matters,” said President Kremlev, at the close of the IBA statement.

Boxing made its debut at the Olympic Games in Saint Louis 1904 and continued uninterrupted. In London 2012, women participated for the first time. So far, 197 boxers are qualified and the second Olympic Qualifying Championship will take place in Thailand from May 23 to June 3. It will be the last one organized by the IOC. What will happen from Paris to Los Angeles is unknown.

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