Boxing’s place on the Olympic timetable for LA in 2028 may depend on how well a new World Boxing organisation can establish its credibility quickly and circumvent the traditional role played by the International Boxing Association.
The sport has a history of splits that would match that of the spoof People’s Front of Judea from Monty Python but nobody has been laughing at the decline in the sport’s stock with the IOC through a number of different scandals from judging to the backing of Russia and support from the Kremlin at a time when that country has been excluded from World sport over its invasion of Ukraine.
Ireland has been a vocal critic of the IBA and has indicated that it will be supporting the new body.
“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,” said a statement launching the new World Boxing body on 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.”
This was backed up last night with a statement from the Irish Athletic Boxing Association which read:
“IABA, as the governing body of Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport, and as a proud member of the Common Cause Alliance, notes the establishment today of World Boxing, and the principles for which it stands:”
❖ World Boxing will keep boxing at the heart of the Olympic movement
❖ World Boxing will ensure the interests of boxers are put first
❖ World Boxing will deliver sporting integrity and fair competitions
❖ World Boxing will create a competition structure designed in the best interests of the boxers
❖ World Boxing will operate according to the strongest governance standards and transparent financial management
“IABA shares these principles and Interim Chair, Tom Geraghty, says “In February, the IABA Board of Directors and Central Council took the decision not to contest the IBA Women’s World Championships or the IBA Men’s World Championships, as the IBA’s practices and activities are not of the standard required to secure our sport’s future. Since that time, the IBA has not engaged in meaningful governance reform or implemented the recommendations of its own experts on fiscal responsibility, fair play, and inclusion.”
“President, Gerry O’Mahony, says “The Irish Athletic Boxing Association remains committed to its view that all members deserve a level playing field in tournaments run to the highest possible standard by an organization which has their welfare, their futures, and their sport at its heart. All IABA boxers deserve the Olympic dream, and deserve to hold the hope and potential for climbing atop that podium. That can only continue to be possible for today’s Boy and Girl 1s, boxing their first ever national championships this week, with a global governing body which places the Olympic movement at its core”
“Interim CEO, John Nangle, says “We advised our members in recent months that decisions lie ahead – those decisions will be in the hands of our over 350 clubs, and will guide how Irish boxing develops at home, and on which international stage IABA boxers take to the ring.”
There will be twists and turns along this path with IOC recognition not given lightly and political considerations to how the world beyond the Western focus of the initial membership of World Boxing sees things.
Membership of the interim Executive Board announced yesterday is drawn from Britain, the US, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and the Philippines.
All those countries boycotted this year’s Men’s and Women’s IBA World Championship but they still went ahead with athletes from a total of 20 countries winning medals at the Women’s edition held in New Delhi last month.
They included India, China, Russia, Italy, Brazil, Australia, France, Japan and Korea. Notably, they include all seven countries to have or are about to host Olympic Games post London 2012 and running up to the Winter Olympics of 2026.
Our perspective on what needs to be done to save Boxing at the Olympics may feel absolutely right but it is clearly not a singular view from every country outside of the world’s pariah states.