Boxing remains on the brink of exclusion from the Olympic Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will discuss the activities of the International Boxing Association (IBA) at its next meeting in December this year.
The IBA unexpectedly banned Ukraine’s national federation and now bans Ukraine’s junior team from playing under its flag and song at the European Championships currently underway in Italy. This led the IOC to once again raise serious concerns about the IBA.
The IOC has said it will conduct a comprehensive review at its next meeting in December.
The IBA is already on the brink of losing its place at the Olympic Games over governance, financial and refereeing issues that have remained for years.
The world governing body for amateur boxing was also banned from last year’s Tokyo Olympics and the sport is not on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games, prompting a series of reforms demanded by the IOC.
The IOC will organize boxing competitions for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“The IOC is very concerned about the situation in the federation (IBA),” the IOC said Reuters in a statement on Friday. “Among other concerns, this is because the recognized National Boxing Federation of Ukraine was recently suspended from the IBA Congress for controversial reasons.”
The board said it will discuss the situation at its next meeting, scheduled for December 5-7.
The IBA, which is headed by Russian businessman Umar Kremlev, suspended the Ukrainian federation last week and it was unable to vote in the federation’s elections.
The IBA does not recognize Kyrylo Shevchenko as president of the Ukrainian federation, but instead recognizes Vladimir Prodivus, a Kremlin ally who left Ukraine after Russia invaded Ukraine in February and is now vice president of the IBA.
In an unprecedented move this week, the IBA also banned Ukraine’s junior boxing team from competing under its flag and song at the European Championships in Italy due to an ongoing dispute with the country’s boxing federation.
“The fact that the national youth boxing team of Ukraine will not be allowed to participate in the European Championships in Italy if they compete using national identifiers, such as the national flag, anthem and any symbols of Ukraine, raises many concerns that have been expressed before. were, he adds,” KBO said. .
It had already warned last month that slow reforms and the IBA’s financial dependence on Russian energy company Gazprom were serious concerns.
Wladimir Klitschko, the former world heavyweight champion who stayed in his homeland to support the resistance to the Russian invasion, supported the country’s national team and criticized “Russian members of the IBA leadership and Volodymyr Prodivus”.
Oleksandr Uysk, the current unified heavyweight champion, who, like Klitschko, won an Olympic gold medal for Ukraine, also commented on the matter.
“I want to support the national boxing team of Ukraine, which was banned from participating in the European Championship under the flag and song of Ukraine,” he said.
In a message sent to Umar Kremlev on social networks, Usyk said: “This is not just a flag, these are the colors of freedom of the whole world.”
He said to the boxers: “You are great and thank you for showing your bravery and strength of spirit to the whole world. Ukrainians have a strong will.”
“There’s plenty of time left”
On Sunday, IBA members voted against holding presidential elections, which were seen as key to establishing better governance.
The move has fueled further concern that boxing will not become an Olympic sport after 2024.
Boxing England, the national federation, later responded by stressing the need for deep reform and saying the IOC’s growing concerns were justified.
“We are very disappointed by what happened at the IBA Extraordinary Congress, share the concerns of the IOC and are concerned about what this means for the future of Olympic boxing,” England chief executive Jerome Pels said.
“We supported Boris van der Vorst and fully expected to have the right to vote for him in a democratic election. We believe he would be the right candidate to lead the IMF, reform its governance and restore its reputation as a democratic company. world governing body.
“The fact that the election was bypassed by a vote, if an election was necessary in the first place, clearly heightened the IOC’s concerns – and rightly so.
“Continuing with the status quo could have huge consequences for the sport and the athletes who want to compete in fair and well-governed competitions.
“Boxing in England will be watching very closely how the relationship between the IOC and the IBA develops. It should be noted that the number one goal of the IBA is to return to the Olympic family and restore it as a trusted body that promotes the sport of boxing at the highest level. top management and there is plenty of time left to do so.”