World Boxing calls on federations to join amid latest Olympic future threat

IOC insists it ‘will not be in a position’ to run competition at LA28

Belfast's Aidan Walsh lost out to Brazil's Wanderson de Oliveira at the World Olympic qualifier in Busto Arsizio on Thursday. Picture by Ben McShane/Sportsfile
Belfast's Aidan Walsh is among those still hoping to secure a spot at Paris 2024 - but will boxing be at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Picture by Sportsfile (SPORTSFILE)

WORLD Boxing has urged national federations to join forces with them, and ditch the controversial International Boxing Association (IBA), as the sport’s Olympic future has once again been cast in doubt.

Amateur boxing is not currently included in the programme for the Los Angeles Games in 2028, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has insisted that will remain the case unless a new governing body is established to run the sport worldwide.

Due to an ongoing dispute between the IOC and the IBA, a special taskforce established by the IOC ran the tournament at the Tokyo Games in 2021, and will do so again in Paris this summer.

However, that arrangement was only ever designed to be short-term, and following an executive board meeting, IOC sports director Kit McConnell said if a new boxing was not in place to work in partnership with the IOC “we will not be in a position to have boxing in the programme of LA28″.

He reiterated that the IBA would not be involved in any way if boxing is part of the Los Angeles Olympics.

Seizing their opportunity, World Boxing – a rival governing body, established last year and headed up by the United States – have called for others to join the fledgling organisation as they bid to eventually take over from the IBA.

A statement issued on Wednesday read: “The comments made by the IOC send a clear message to Boxing National Federations that they must join and support a new International Federation immediately if boxing is to remain on the Olympic programme, or the sport will not be part of future editions of the Olympic Games after Paris 2024, which will have devastating consequences for young boxers, at all levels, across the world.

“World Boxing aims to be the new international federation and has been established with the primary aim of ensuring that boxing remains at the heart of the Olympic movement.

“It has been founded on the principles of integrity, honesty and excellence and is underpinned by rigorous governance practices, designed to put the interests of boxers first and ensure that the integrity of the sport is guaranteed and competition is fair.

“World Boxing will seek recognition from the (IOC) and, should it choose to engage with us, we are committed to working constructively and collaboratively with national federations and all stakeholders to develop a pathway that will preserve boxing’s place on the Olympic programme at Los Angeles 2028 and beyond.

“With its comments, the IOC has sent a direct and unequivocal message to everyone connected with the sport and we call upon all national federations and everyone that cares about boxers and the future of boxing to join and support World Boxing.”

It would require a huge upsurge in membership for any change to take place in the years between, as World Boxing body has a current membership of fewer than 30 countries.

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) remains affiliated to the IBA, after a notion that could have opened the door to joining World Boxing was narrowly defeated at an EGM in Dublin.

World Boxing is expected to apply for temporary recognition from the IOC until the outcome of an IBA appeal against the IOC’s decision of the IOC to expel them is announced. The case was heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last year, but it is unclear when a verdict will be forthcoming.