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IOC Issues Stern Warning To International Boxing Association

12/05/22

- Grant Whittington

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has issued a stern word of warning over the many concerns regarding the state of integrity and governance within the sport of boxing.

The committee aimed its words of caution at the Russian president of amateur boxing, Umar Kremlev, while pointing out the many concerns that continue to exist, including the questionable integrity of judges and the financial feasibility of the International Boxing Association (IBA), which Kremlev currently leads.

Kremlev will soon be running for re-election and has in the past thanked Russian president Vladimir Putin for his backing of the sport and the organisation.

Boxing Not Ready For Paris

The letter of admonishment furthermore questions boxing’s readiness for Paris 2024. The sport has not yet made it into the lineup for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles because of its many issues.

The timing of the IOC’s letter is especially poignant because of Kremlev’s upcoming re-election, and even more so by the fact he’s being challenged by his Dutch rival, Boris van der Vorst.

While Kremlev remains the favourite to stay in charge, many central figures within the sport have voiced their concerns because of his close ties with Russia, and specifically within the context of the invasion of Ukraine.

Kremlev as recently as last month insisted that he had developed a relationship of confidence and trust with the IOC, which is now being thrown into doubt following the emergence of the letter.

According to the letter, the IOC’s recognition of the IBA remains in a state of suspension. The integrity of the judging systems seems to be the main area of concern for the committee.

IOC Calls For Clarity

In its letter, the IOC also called on greater clarity about the IBA’s plans for qualification for Paris 2024. It said without this clarity, the organisation will inevitably put its boxers at risk.

The IOC first withdrew its recognition of the IBA in June 2019. The reasons have remained the same and continue to plague the sport even now. The withdrawal followed several allegations of rigging of decisions at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Financial mismanagement under previous president CK Wu had been a major cause for concern also.

Since his own election in 2020, Kremlev has attempted to position himself as a “reformer” of the sport. He last year requested a historical investigation of corruption in amateur boxing.

Even so, according to Van der Vorst, any attempts at a reformation have been superficial. He said fundamental changes were needed to bring about a positive outcome for the sport.

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