Boxing body won’t hold new elections, hurting Olympic hopes

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Umar Kremlev will remain president of the International Boxing Association after the amateur sport’s governing body voted against holding a new election on Sunday, a move that puts the Olympic future of Boxing in serious doubt. boxing.

The International Olympic Committee released a statement saying it was “extremely concerned” about boxing’s Olympic future after an extraordinary IBA congress overwhelmingly backed Kremlev at its meeting in Yerevan, Armenia.

The Russian was re-elected in May after an opponent, Boris van der Vorst of the Netherlands, was barred from running against him. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in June that van der Vorst should have been eligible to stand against Kremlev, but the IBA Group still decided not to hold a new election.

The decision goes against the wishes of the IOC, which suspended the IBA (then known as AIBA) in 2019 after years of financial mismanagement and poor organization. The IOC itself organized the boxing tournament at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and plans to organize a boxing tournament at the Paris Games in 2024, excluding the IBA.

Boxing is not currently on the Olympic schedule for Los Angeles in 2028, and the IOC statement was the latest in months to suggest the decision could be permanent. Boxing was an ancient Olympic sport that was first introduced to modern games in 1904, and it has been included in every Olympic program since 1920.

Kremlev did not adopt a conciliatory tone towards the IOC’s demands. In fact, he called on the IBA to focus less on the Olympics in his remarks after Sunday’s decision.

“I work for you, not for some parallel organization,” Kremlev said through a translator. “Nobody else should have any influence on the organization.”

The IOC has criticized the governance of the IBA under Kremlev, who was elected in December 2020. Kremlev addressed the IBA’s debt after years of sketchy financial dealings under former President Wu Ching-Kuo by signing an agreement major sponsorship deal with Russian energy giant Gazprom.

Van der Vorst was the preferred candidate for a group of largely Western nations who hoped to change the direction of the governing body in line with the IOC’s wish to improve its chances of staying on the Olympic programme. USA Boxing and several other governing bodies expressed disappointment with the IBA this weekend after they refused to change course.

The IBA also suspended the Ukrainian Boxing Federation on Friday, preventing it from voting at the extraordinary congress. Kremlev met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow earlier this month at the opening of a boxing center.

The IBA cited “government interference” as the reason for suspending the Ukrainian body a day after writing to IBA members calling for the Kremlev to be removed. The organization affirmed that it would always support the participation of Ukrainian boxers in IBA events.

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