Today is a historic day for the entire world of boxing and the perfect moment in IBA’s history to accelerate growth – we have everything for this – a strong strategy, unique athletes, world-scale events, high-quality content, and, complementing this by its innovations – nothing can stop us.
Today IBA celebrates its Unity Day marking outstanding achievements that Umar Kremlev and his team have accomplished in the first three years of his Presidency. We delivered results that completely changed the international boxing ecosystem and looking to 2024 this will continue with a record number of events and unprecedented prize money growth for athletes around the globe.
A damaged and weak international boxing body with massive multi-million-dollar debts enshrouded in a deep culture of corruption and mismanagement with no unity and constant problems, that was the AIBA back in 2020. In the short term, the new team under the leadership of President Kremlev managed to wipe off all debts and build full financial sustainability that allowed to establish significant prize money for all competitions. IBA went further and increased the prize money funds from event to event to make sure that athletes have opportunities to earn a living and provide for their families. The best conditions for boxers and coaches became a mandatory part of each event held by the International Boxing Association.
‘IBA has become the true Home of Boxing, and it is what makes me proud the most. Within IBA, athletes and coaches feel secure and can fulfil their dreams by competing at the highest level and achieving their best results in the ring. I am extremely proud of massive work we have done together with the IBA team, and I appreciate the input of National Federations into the boxing development worldwide. That said, it is just the beginning, as we always starve for more achievements; 2024 will be a pivotal year for us, and I am looking forward to implementing more innovations. My heart and soul belong to boxing, and I am passionate about the work that we are doing for the sake of our Family,’ IBA President Umar Kremlev proudly stated.
It was truly a team effort that allowed the IBA to improve in every single aspect possible over the last three years. The governance of IBA was transformed with an amended Constitution and a new Board of Directors. IBA attracted sponsors and partners to ensure its financial stability, its marketing and TV rights revenue grows year on year.
With the best independent experts involved, refereeing and judging was significantly improved. The corrupted culture of the past changed, and the integrity is ensured by vetting officials with cutting-edge technologies including AI. All high-risk people were removed from officiating at the events. The team of sport experts developed the bout review rule to make sure that the human factor has no longer any influence on the results. More than that, IBA is exploring the pilot project of a brand-new scoring system presented recently in Dubai that will exclude any possibility of manipulation and increase the accuracy of officiating.
Independent experts investigated the past mismanagement and corruption allegations and found those responsible for the troubles caused. The former President of the association CK Wu was proven responsible for all wrongdoings, and IBA Congress declared him persona non-grata. Only by cleaning the mistakes of the past was it possible to create the prosperous future for the IBA.
To help the new organization stand apart from the old situation, President Kremlev initiated full rebranding and the acronym change from AIBA to IBA in 2021. The International Boxing Association launched a new logo and style that showed the dynamics of the new approach to business.
IBA established a full-scale Financial Support Program to assist National Federations worldwide. National Federations received grants for the need-based projects and boxing equipment as value-in-kind. This program assisted hundreds of boxers to participate in the major IBA events and many of them managed to win medals and give glory to their nations. This shows the unfortunate uniqueness of the situation where talented boxers could not be discovered because they did not have enough funds to travel for competitions.
The Financial Support Program for 2021, 2022, and 2023 represents $10 million USD dedicated to providing the resources to help National Federations and their athletes from more than 100 countries. For the above period, the commitment to the long-term financial health of our athletes was seen with the groundbreaking prize money for athletes totalling $11.5 million USD.
Athletes and coaches became the center of the IBA universe, and the organization is doing its utmost to support its Family. The IBA created multiple opportunities for everybody to learn at educational courses provided for coaches, officials, doctors, cut-technicians, and now sports managers.
Such examples as Dutch boxer Megan de Cler who was not afraid to go against the decision of the leadership of her National Federation boycotting the IBA Women’s World Championships, shows the real intentions of boxers. They just want to compete and show their best in the ring, not to be involved in the politics of sport. Although de Cler did not win a medal at her first elite World Championships, she was further supported by the organization and President and competed at IBA Champions’ Night. In Phuket. de Cler celebrated a victory and proved she is among the top boxers at her weight category. After New Delhi, the 19-year-old boxer was banned for life by her National Federation, and IBA committed to supporting the young talent further.
2024 will be a prosperous year for IBA with 16 Champions’ Nights planned with this number expected to rise. IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships is scheduled to take place in Astana, Kazakhstan with doubled $4.8 million USD prize money fund. For men’s event that is to be announced soon, IBA secured $10.4 million USD.
IBA is celebrating impressive fan growth with Instagram recently celebrating hitting 300,000 followers. The Home of Boxing app will be launched next year to be inclusive for the entire Boxing Family and engage more people in the sport.