USA Boxing withdraws from IBA, will seek membership with new World Boxing federation
USA Boxing has withdrawn from the International Boxing Association, citing IBA’s “failure to uphold” the principles of its constitution and “respect the Olympic charter and movement.”
The resolution, which is effective immediately, sees the American amateur boxing national governing body withdraw from the international organization which it had been a charter member of when it was formed in 1946.
In a letter directed to USA Boxing members, Executive Director Mike McAtee invoked the Declaration of Independence, calling to “dissolve the political bands which have connected” them to the scandal-riddled IBA, which rebranded from AIBA in 2021 after being suspended from the Tokyo Olympics.
IBA was also suspended from handling the qualification and competition events for the 2024 Olympics in Paris by the International Olympic Committee due to not meeting the reform requirements from the 2019 Lalovic Report, which raised concerns about governance standards and financial viability, as well as a lack of third party oversight in competitions.
USA Boxing will instead begin the membership process on or about May 1 to join World Boxing, an international federation which was announced on April 13. That organization is headed by members of various federations, including USA Boxing, GB Boxing, plus the Philippines’ ABAP, among others, with the stated goal of being recognized by the IOC and preventing boxing from being removed from the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.
“USA Boxing is committed to work tirelessly with World Boxing, like-minded National Federations and worldwide Olympic-style boxing community to earn the privilege to be part of the Olympic Movement now and in the years to come,” reads the USA Boxing letter.
Among USA Boxing’s other complaints is IBA’s false claims that their World Championships would be an Olympic qualifying event for the 2024 Games, plus their decision to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete under their national flags, despite those countries being under IOC sanction due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
IBA has been led since 2020 by Umar Kremlin, a Russian national with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. IBA has drawn criticism from the IOC over its “financial dependency” on Gazprom, a Russian state-owned energy company.
IBA addressed the formation of World Boxing on Wednesday, calling it a “rogue boxing organization” and filing a complaint with its own Boxing Independent Integrity Unit, which, despite stating its independence in its name, receives its budget from the IBA Board of Directors, according to the IBA website.
“Individuals and entities found guilty by the BIIU will face consequences according to the IBA Constitution, Disciplinary and Ethics Code and other key documents concerned,” reads the IBA statement.
USA Boxing was among several national federations, including Great Britain, Canada, Sweden, Ireland and the Czech Republic to decline participation in the men’s and women’s IBA World Championships. The women’s event took place in India in March, while the men’s tournament is set for next month in Uzbekistan.
The IOC announced last September that there would be five regional qualifying tournaments in 2023, including the Pan-American Games, the European Games, the Pacific Games, the Asian Games and the ANOCA (Africa) multi-sport event, plus two world qualifiers in 2024, giving boxers three opportunities to qualify for Paris 2024.
Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].