The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has threatened to pull boxing from the 2024 Paris Olympics accusing the Russian-led association of showing “no real interest” in the sport or its athletes.
The International Boxing Association (IBA) was already stripped of any involvement in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the sport is also not on the initial programme for the 2028 Los Angeles Games, pending reforms demanded by the IOC.
“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”. An IOC spokesperson said.
“The decisions and discussions to keep boxers away from the Olympic qualifiers and the Olympic Games cannot be understood differently.”
IOC is currently overseeing the boxing qualifications for the 2024 Olympics but maintains that it can take further decisions that “may have to include the cancellation of boxing for the Olympic Games Paris 2024”.
The IBA is run by Russian Umar Kremlev and recently voted against holding a new election, allowing Kremlev to remain as president even after a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling that Dutch candidate Boris van der Vorst was wrongly prevented from standing.
It soon announced the return of Russian and Belarusian boxers to the sport. The athletes from these countries are banned from international competitions due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
IBA issued a reply on Friday, saying it will continue to fight for its athletes to compete in the Olympics.
“It is clear, that the persecution of IBA athletes will continue until ultimate control of boxing and its leadership has been achieved,” IBA said in a statement.
With IOC still mulling over how to reintroduce athletes from Russia and Belarus into their specific sports, the fight between the two may rage on for a while.