IBA Year in Review: 2023 a watershed moment for boxing

December 21st, 2023 / IBA

The International Boxing Association (IBA) finishes the calendar year of 2023 being proud of its achievements throughout the last 12 months culminating in a clear vision for the future of the organization. Following dozens of spectacular events around the globe, the IBA continues to ensure the best possible conditions for the athletes and coaches, as well as constant boxing development through its National Federations around the world.

2023 was declared the Year of Asia, and the continent was in the spotlight with two major world championships. The IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships held in New Delhi, India saw 324 boxers from 65 nations in 12 weight categories in action. Host team India topped the medal standings with impressive 4 gold medals, followed by China with 3 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze medals, and Russia with one of each medal. The winners received $100,000 USD certificates, while silver medallists earned $50,000 USD, and each of bronze medals holders was awarded $25,000 USD.

The IBA Women and Sport Conference was held in New Delhi and became another milestone for women’s boxing development with the overarching theme of the conference being Level Canvas – Equal Opportunities, Breaking Down the Barriers to Women’s Participation in Sport.

In May, Tashkent became a proud host of the IBA Men’s World Boxing Championships with 538 boxers from 107 countries present. The strongest 13 were determined in competitive fights with Team Uzbekistan on the top of the medal table with 5 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals. Kazakhstan (4-1-0) and Russia (2-0-4) became second and third ahead of traditionally strong Cuba (1-3-2), while France finished in the top-5 (1-1-1). 

An increased prize money fund was in place for all major events this year with $5.2 million USD at stake for Tashkent 2023. In addition, for the very first time, the quarter-finalists were awarded prize money. The flagship tournament of the year.

IBA kept its commitment to the Financial Support Program (FSP) with grants for National Federations and assistance to the teams participating in the major world level events reaching over $10 million.

A new scoring system was presented at the Global Boxing Forum in Dubai, which is truly innovative and promising. The new system will leave no room for manipulations and increases the objectivity of judging. The New Generation Scoring System is developed by UNIXON Systems in cooperation with the Japan Boxing Federation and LiveMedia Corporation.

Four National Federations were accepted to become members at the IBA Ordinary Congress 2023 in Dubai with Norfolk Island Boxing Association, SwissBoxing, Tuvalu Amateur Boxing Association and US Boxing Federation becoming permanent members of the IBA. 

A pro-style boxing format launched first in December 2022, IBA Champions’ Night, gained momentum throughout the year with a total of 10 editions in various countries with more than 60 spectacular fights recorded. The new format has already attracted many viewers and followers, with the most-watched reel in Instagram exceeding one million views. 2024 promises to be an exciting one with 16 Champions’ Night editions scheduled.

International Boxing Day celebrated the sport with actions held on all five continents once again. On the eve of the event, IBA Champions’ Night was held in the city of Serpukhov, Russia to mark the occasion and launch the baton of celebrations around the globe. 

In 2023, IBA held 64 educational courses with 1332 specialists who passed the exams successfully. This includes 35 courses for 805 coaches of 1-star, who received a qualification to second the fights at IBA tournaments. In addition, IBA expanded on its collaboration with ISDE, and launched its first Sports Management course to take place in 2024.

IBA continued supporting its Fair Chance Team at continental events with some successful performances, as well as IBA Neutral Team that was created to support athletes from suspended National Federations. 

IBA Confederations extended their support to the boxers with dozens of events held worldwide.

African Boxing Confederation (AFBC) elected new President, Mr Eyassu Wossen Berhanu, to go forward in unity. African Boxing Championships was held in Yaounde, Cameroon with impressive atmosphere and spectacular fights.

American Boxing Confederation (AMBC) led by Mr Jose Laureano had their continental event in Colombia in elite, youth, and junior ages. The continent received a new female representative at the IBA Board of Directors with Ms Lourdes Avendaño from Bolivia being elected. 

Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC) with its President Mr Pichai Chunhavajira took an important decision to stay with the IBA, voting for it at its Congress. The Confederation hosted many continental and international events this year, including several IBA Champions’ Nights. 

EUBC, the European Boxing Confederation, under the leadership of President Dr Ioannis Filippatos delivered numerous events bringing together boxers of all ages in action at many tournaments throughout the continent. 

Oceania Boxing Confederation (OCBC) led by Mr Tauhiti Nena received two new National Federations. Alongside the backdrop of the OCBC Junior and Youth Boxing Championships held in the capital city of Samoa – Apia, where extensive development modules were delivered.

In September, the IBA announced Mr Chris Roberts OBE as the permanent Secretary General and CEO after the decision was taken by the IBA Board of Directors. Mr Roberts previously served as Interim Secretary General and CEO that succeeded his position as the IBA Development Director, where he managed various projects of crucial scale for the IBA.

IBA revived the Junior World Boxing Championships following a 8-year gap. Yerevan, Armenia hosted the event with great passion and an impressive level of organization, setting the bar high for future hosts. The IBA gave opportunities to the next generation to win their first titles and receive motivation to pursue their dreams further.

IBA President Umar Kremlev reported the progress of the organization to the media at the press conferences in Tashkent and Paris, where he named the milestones that the organization had recently achieved. 

President Kremlev travelled the world with clear mission to develop boxing on all continents and give opportunities to boxers. He met with high government officials, brought boxing equipment to the countries and gifted them to kids and national teams.

Global Boxing Forum became another turning point for IBA with and overarching theme of athletes’ well-being. A variety of subject matter experts and the IBA leadership discussed mental, physical, and financial health of the boxers. Moreover, IBA Ordinary Congress that took place in December showed a record number of participants with 170 voting countries.

2024 will be the Year of the Americas, and the continent will receive special attention with development programs and sporting events.

With 196 countries firmly behind the IBA, 2024 promises to be a year full of competitions and new milestones.