LAUSANNE, Switzerland—The Olympic future of boxing’s long-exiled governing body could be decided Wednesday at an International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting called at short notice.
The IOC said Tuesday its executive board will meet for a special session two weeks before a scheduled three-day meeting that has been expected to debate the issue.
The IOC stripped the International Boxing Association (IBA) of recognition in 2019 over long-standing financial, sports integrity and governance issues. It could decide to reinstate the governing body or banish it completely.
Boxing at the 2024 Paris Olympics is set to be overseen by the IOC for the second straight games. The IBA had no involvement in bouts at the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021.
Boxing’s place at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics has not been confirmed amid the IOC-IBA dispute.
“The IBA strongly believes that it meets all necessary criteria to be a part of the Olympic movement,” the Lausanne-based organization said in a statement Tuesday, noting it sent the IOC a 400-page document one month ago about its management reforms.
The IOC has stressed it has “no problem” with boxing and boxers, just with the IBA which is now led by elected president Umar Kremlev of Russia.
“My mission is not to attract the International Olympic Committee or to make them like me,” Kremlev said last month at a news conference on the sidelines of the men’s world championships, which were boycotted by the United States, Britain and many other leading nations.
Kremlev announced then that Gazprom was no longer an IBA sponsor. Financial dependence on the Russian state energy firm was a long-standing concern for the IOC even before the Russian war on Ukraine.
The IBA also has let boxers from Russia and Belarus compete with their own flag and anthem, contrary to IOC guidance that athletes should compete only as neutrals under certain conditions.
With IBA’s future in the Olympic family looking shakier, a rival organization called World Boxing has attracted initial support from officials in the United States, Switzerland and Britain.
Image credits: AP