International Olympic Committee expells International Boxing Association to throw boxing's Olympic future into doubt

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has formally confirmed that the amateur governing body, International Boxing Association (IBA), has been officially expelled from the International Olympic Movement.

IBA, previously known as AIBA, has been in turmoil over the last decade regarding governance issues, corruption, finances, leadership, anti-doping and bout-fixing at major tournaments, which included the 2016 Olympic’s highlighted by Michael Conlon in his defeat to Vladimir Nikitin.

IBA has been suspended from the IOC since 2019 for issues relating to the above, and the decision to expel the organisation came today during an extraordinary session at the IOC after the IOC’s executive committee recommended that IBA should be stripped of its status earlier this month.

An IOC report on the IBA’s situation concluded that the body run by President Umar Kremlev had failed to fulfil the conditions set out for lifting the suspension. Thomas Bach, who is the president of the IOC stated in official reporting at the time of the suspension that he had an “extremely serious problem with the IBA” while the IOC general director suggested that the IBA had “reached the point of no return”

Boxing will remain on the schedule for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, with the tournament and qualifiers for the games, like Tokyo 2020, will be overseen and administered by the IOC directly alongside the respective national governing bodies who assist in hosting qualifiers for the games and providing officials to be managed and directed by the IOC.

Earlier this year, several national amateur boxing associations left IBA and formed a new amateur boxing association called World Boxing. World Boxing’s ambition is to become the new amateur boxing governing body and regulator and has already seen national associations such as Great Britain, The United States, Germany, Ukraine, The Netherlands, and Sweden join the ambitious project by World Boxing. The reasoning for the newly formed organisation was due to concerns regarding the leadership and governance of the IBA.

Currently, boxing remains off the schedule for the Los Angeles 2028 games, and the announcement that boxing holds no position within the IOC threatens the long-term future for boxing as a recognised Olympic sport.

At today’s extraordinary meeting at the IOC saw 69 members vote in favour of IBA’s expulsion against one sole member who voted against it. It should be noted that 10 members abstained from the vote, which has sealed IBA’s fate.

The IBA is currently under the leadership of Umar Kremlev, who is a former board member of the Russian state energy giant Gazprom. Gazprom is the IBA’s largest financial backer in regard to sponsorship and support, and the IOC has condemned the move. Kremelv also split from the norm in sporting terms by allowing Russian and Belarussian fighters to box under their national flags despite many global sporting institutions insisting athletes from these nations compete under neutral flag status.

Furthermore, Kremlev was condemned for his comments aimed at former IBA (Then named AIBA) president CK WU. Kremlev said earlier this week, with instant condemnation from the IOC, that CK Wu should be “Shot” and that he is to blame for “Killing Boxing” in the amateur code of the sport.