Sport

World boxing chiefs threaten to discipline Ireland and other boycotting nations

Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O'Rourke won World Championship gold last year, but will not defend those titles after the IABA decided to boycott the upcoming championships in India. Picture by INPHO
Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O'Rourke won World Championship gold last year, but will not defend those titles after the IABA decided to boycott the upcoming championships in India. Picture by INPHO Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O'Rourke won World Championship gold last year, but will not defend those titles after the IABA decided to boycott the upcoming championships in India. Picture by INPHO

AMATEUR boxing’s world governing body has opened disciplinary proceedings against several countries – including Ireland - over their planned boycott of upcoming World Championships.

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) confirmed last month that it would not send a team to the women’s World Championships in India (March 15-31), where Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke were in line to defend their titles.

It is also expected the boycott will extend to the men’s Worlds in May, with Ireland – who followed the USA’s lead – joined by a host of other nations, including Great Britain, as part of a ‘Common Cause Alliance’.

The boycott is in protest against governance issues in the International Boxing Association (IBA), with growing fears for the future of the sport’s Olympic involvement after it was not included in the initial programme for Los Angeles 2028.

The IBA – which is led by Russian Umar Kremlev - lifted a ban on Russian and Belarusian boxers competing under their flags last October, against the guidance of the International Olympic Committee following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine's boxing federation joined the boycott last month and warned that its boxers would also boycott next year's Olympic Games in Paris if Russian and Belarusian boxers were present.

A fortnight ago the IBA announced its own qualification system for Paris 2024, despite being stripped of the right to do so by the IOC, and have now warned of potential disciplinary measures against countries boycotting their championships.

"In boxing, there is no place for any form of discrimination, and IBA sees it as its mission to protect its values," read an IBA statement, which claimed the 11 protesting countries had violated articles of its ethics code.

The code states that any official who "incites a boycott of a competition or withdraws from a competition without a valid reason" is subject to a suspension of up to four years from all boxing activities.

"Moreover,” the statement continued, “the IBA will defend its integrity and reputation and will not let any individuals damage it through their unethical behaviour.”