IBA rivals launch breakaway boxing association

World Boxing, the breakaway boxing association that includes the U.S., the UK and several European allies, is aiming to salvage the sport’s Olympic future and rival the IBA.

By: Karim Zidan | 2 months ago
IBA rivals launch breakaway boxing association
Photo by Johann Walter Bantz on Unsplash

Amid an ongoing feud between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Boxing Association (IBA), a new international federation has been established with the aim of securing the sport’s Olympic future. 

The newly-launched governing body, known as World Boxing, is led by an interim executive board comprised of representatives from the national federations of the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Great Britain, New Zealand, and the Philippines.  

“World Boxing has been established in response to the persistent issues surrounding Olympic-style boxing’s existing international governing body, whose failure to address the IOC’s longstanding concerns over sporting integrity, governance, transparency and financial management has placed boxing’s future as an Olympic sport in doubt,” the organizers said in a joint statement Thursday.  

“World Boxing will seek recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and plans to work constructively and collaboratively to develop a pathway that will preserve boxing’s ongoing place on the Olympic competition programme.”

The IOC’s Years-long Conflict with the IBA

The IOC has long been in conflict with IBA over a series of corruption scandals, accusations of bad governance, and concerns about the organization’s president Umar Kremlev and his alleged relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

While the IBA has undergone clear reforms that include weeding out corrupt officials, improving the scoring system, and elevating their financial standing, the improvements have not. been enough to ease the IOC’s concerns.

Critics remain concerned about the governing body’s financial dependence on Russian oil and gas giant Gazprom, an entity with Gazprom numerous ties to Putin. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the IBA faced pressure to cancel its contract with Gazprom. In response, the boxing body claimed that “it is not currently possible to completely cancel the Gazprom contract” because of its financial significance to the organization and ended up renewing its deal with Gazprom. 

USA Boxing and Dutch boxing federation president Boris van der Vorst were among Kremlev’s biggest critics, with the latter having unsuccessfully challenged him for the IBA leadership last year. Now both USA Boxing and the Dutch Boxing Federation President van der Vorst are involved in the breakaway boxing body. And while World Boxing claims it is not in a “fight” with the IBA, it is now positioned as a direct rival of the 77-year-old association. 

World Boxing vs. IBA

However, it is worth noting that World Boxing’s financial budget is nowhere near as vast as the IBA’s, which is backed by Gazprom and offers up to $200,000 in prize money for gold medalists at their amateur events. is yet to make contact with the IOC. The organization hopes to hold discussions “in the next month or two to clarify what procedure and what availability there is for us to be recognized in some form.” 

As for the IBA, the organization has threatened to expel the countries involved in the “rouge organization.” 

“There is no other reason of establishing a rogue organization, other than to attempt to destroy the integrity of the International Boxing Association,” the IBA said in a statement. “The IBA strongly condemns the efforts of individuals to damage the significant strides taken by the IBA over the last years to secure boxers the best future possible.

“Ambitions of individuals will never serve as a solid foundation for a successful organization nor the destructive motives that have led to the creation of this rogue organization.”

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About the author
Karim Zidan
Karim Zidan

Karim Zidan is a investigative reporter and feature writer focusing on the intersection of sports and politics. He has written for BloodyElbow since 2014 and has served as an associate editor since 2016. He also writes for The New York Times and The Guardian. Karim has been invited to speak about his work at numerous universities, including Princeton, and was a panelist at the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival and the Oslo Freedom Forum. He also participated in the United Nations counter-terrorism conference in 2021. His reporting on Ramzan Kadyrov’s involvement in MMA, much of which was done for Bloody Elbow, has led to numerous award nominations, and was the basis of an award-winning HBO Real Sports documentary.

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