IOC hints at boxing being scrapped from Paris Olympics
The committee thinks that the IBA has “no real interest” in the sport
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said that boxing might have to be canceled from the Paris 2024 Olympics due to the International Boxing Association (IBA) showing “no real interest” in the future of the sport.
The IOC is organizing qualification events for boxing at the next edition of the summer Games and has not included it on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games while waiting for the IBA to make reforms.
A spokesperson for the IOC said on Thursday that concerns it has over the IBA and how it is run – including a perceived financial dependence on Russian gas giant Gazprom – mean that it “may have to include the cancellation of boxing for the Olympic Games Paris 2024” in further decisions.
“The recent IBA Congress has shown once more that IBA has no real interest in the sport of boxing and the boxers, but is only interested in its own power,” the spokesperson said.
“The decisions and discussions to keep boxers away from the Olympic qualifiers and the Olympic Games cannot be understood differently.”
The IBA is currently headed by Russian businessman Umar Kremlev. At the congress earlier this month, Kremlev asked delegates if they wished to extend its current sponsorship deal with Gazprom, and received positive responses.
The IOC spokesperson said that by extending its deal with Gazprom, the IBA had shown “no will to understand the real issues.”
“The extension of the sponsorship contract with Gazprom as the sole main sponsor of IBA reinforces the concerns, which the IOC has expressed since 2019 over and over again,” the spokesperson explained.
“This announcement confirms that IBA will continue to depend on a company largely controlled by the Russian government.”
The spokesperson specified that the IOC also has concerns about how the IBA handled a Court of Arbitration (CAS) ruling which deemed Dutch presidential candidate Boris van der Vorst was wrongly prevented from standing against Kremlev.
In September, an extraordinary IBA congress voted against holding fresh elections, which was effectively a vote of confidence for Kremlev.
“The IOC will have to take all this into consideration when it takes further decisions, which may – after these latest developments – have to include the cancellation of boxing for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.”
Earlier this month, ex-pound-for-pound great Roy Jones Jr led protests at an Executive Board meeting held at Olympic House in Lasaunne, Switzerland, with slogans such as “no boxing without IBA” and “no Olympics without boxing” on display.