World Boxing unfit on all levels to support National Federations around the world, while the IBA continues to thrive in the evolving sports ecosystem

April 25th, 2024 / IBA

Following the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) dismissal of the IBA appeal on the IOC Session decision to withdraw Olympic recognition of IBA, the so-called “World Boxing” has claimed to be “the only body” capable of governing our sport despite the major lack of support from nations on all continents, as well as from ASOIF and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

IOC President Thomas Bach previously stated to media that the lack of global support for “World Boxing” was a great barrier to possible recognition, an issue that this breakaway group continues to have, unlike the IBA which continues to retain its member nations.

The IBA’s ability to retain member nations is a testament to the best opportunities for the athletes including the IBA portfolio events, as well as the continued financial investment the organization makes in developing the sport for the benefit of its boxers and more specifically prize money that allows boxers to support their families with a living wage. This has been one of the cornerstones of IBA President, Mr Umar Kremlev’s development strategy for IBA’s National Federations and Confederations. We have recently seen that this support of athletes is essential in the new sports ecosystem with the World Athletics decision to pay gold medalists at the Olympic Games in Paris as World Athletics President Mr Sebastian Coe shared that “I have to accept the world has changed” in a recent interview with Steve Scott of the ITV. Building on that, World Athletics will also pay silver and bronze medallists at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

“World Boxing” must provide evidence of good governance, despite a flawed voting system that gives more power to founding members rather than disperse voting rights equally to all member nations, like IBA and the majority of International Federations do.

Make no mistake – any members who have joined “World Boxing” after its inaugural congress do not have a fair say in how this group is operated. Anyone who chooses to join from now is automatically deemed less important in decision-making, receiving fewer votes than less prominent boxing nations who are given privileges in exchange for their loyalty.

Some of those involved include the Dutch Boxing Federation, previously led by Boris van der Vorst, who failed on several occasions to convince IBA and EUBC memberships to support his campaigns for presidency and Board positions or was deemed ineligible.

Now van der Vorst oversees this group who says they are the future of boxing, yet his future in boxing was never one endorsed by the global boxing community. How can these plans for our sport be considered the correct path if they have never been supported as a strong advocate in the past?

Members who choose this “World Boxing” path are not guaranteed Olympic inclusion, as is promised, nor a prosperous future for its athletes. Aggressive recruiting campaign of the “World Boxing” is built solely on the speculations about the Olympic future of the sport, which they, in fact, cannot guarantee. The presence of boxing at the Olympic Games is a source of existence for many National Federations, that’s why they are likely to follow the promises that may well never be fulfilled. First and foremost, “World Boxing” has neither sufficient funds to run such ambitious project, nor expertise or know-how, while IBA has all recourses to build the future of boxing. 

Speculations on boxing at the Olympic Games is a candid trick to bring National Federations onboard, but after that, there is neither realistic strategy where to go, nor a firm action plan of what to do. Nations will struggle without high level competition and their boxers will be unable to progress along with declining athlete allocations for boxing since 2000 will continue. We must be mindful that boxers should have the right to compete within both 13 and 12 weight categories respectively for male and female athletes. Limited Olympic weight categories undermine our sport completely, and it is dangerous for the boxers.

IBA continues to support its athletes financially and mentally, providing a stage to showcase talent and allow them to forge careers from the sport they love. We provide the best pathway to success for all of our athletes and members around the world.