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Friday, April 12, 2024

IOC banishment of the International Boxing Association

Olympic Boxing undergoes a transformation as the IAB is banished, paving the way for a new era of integrity and transparency in the sport.

In a landmark decision, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has voted to banish the International Boxing Association (IBA) from the Olympic family. This long-standing dispute, fueled by defiance and governance issues within the IBA, has finally reached its resolution. While boxing retains its status as an Olympic sport, the IOC’s actions send a clear message about the importance of integrity and transparency in the governance of the sport. T

Troubled History

The reputation of Olympic boxing has been marred by controversies and questionable decisions throughout its history. From the infamous judging scandal at the 1988 Seoul Games to allegations of planned cash deals to fix medals in 2012, boxing has struggled to maintain its credibility within the Olympic movement. These issues were further exacerbated by doubts surrounding the integrity of bouts at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

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Governance Problems and Defiance

The root of the conflict lies in the IBA’s management under presidents from Uzbekistan and Russia, who faced disapproval from the IOC. The financial backing of the IBA by Russian state energy firm Gazprom, along with concerns about the integrity of bouts and judging, added to the mounting dissatisfaction with the association’s governance. The election of officials with alleged ties to organized crime and drug trafficking only deepened the divide between the IBA and the IOC.

IOC’s Decisive Action

With the goal of restoring integrity to Olympic boxing, the IOC suspended the IBA’s governing body in 2017, leaving the sport’s future in limbo. However, boxing was never truly at risk of being removed from the Olympics, as the IOC focused its efforts on pressuring the IBA for substantial reforms. The final blow came with the IOC’s vote to derecognize the IBA, effectively exiling it from the Olympic family. This outcome was widely expected after the executive board, chaired by IOC president Thomas Bach, recommended it.

Boxing’s Olympic Future

Despite the IBA’s banishment, boxing will continue as an Olympic sport at the 2024 Paris Games. The IOC is overseeing boxing competitions without IBA involvement, a process that began with the Tokyo Games in 2021. Furthermore, the IOC has assured that boxing is “guaranteed” to be part of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic program. This decision underscores the IOC’s recognition of boxing’s appeal and its commitment to separating the sport from the governance issues plaguing the IBA.

Rival Organization Emerges

The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected the IBA’s appeal against the IOC’s decision, paving the way for the IOC to collaborate with a new organization called World Boxing. Formed earlier this year, World Boxing has garnered support from officials in the United States, Switzerland, and Britain, countries whose national federations resisted the IBA’s leadership. This development opens the door to a fresh start for Olympic boxing, guided by a governing body committed to integrity and transparency.

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The banishment of the International Boxing Association from the Olympic family marks a significant turning point for the sport. The IOC’s actions demonstrate its unwavering commitment to upholding the values of integrity and transparency. While Olympic boxing has faced its fair share of challenges and controversies, the future appears promising with the emergence of World Boxing. As the sport prepares for the 2024 Paris Games and beyond, the focus will be on providing boxers with a fair and reputable platform to showcase their skills, ensuring that the sport’s rich history and global appeal continue to thrive on the Olympic stage.