Fresh twist in boxing saga as new body, World Boxing, launches to save sport 

Fresh twist in boxing saga as new body, World Boxing, launches to save sport

Published: 14th April 2023 09:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th April 2023 09:49 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: In a major development, a new international boxing federation has been launched to retain the sport in the Olympic Games. The body will be called World Boxing and its primary objective would be to ensure the sport is part of the Olympics in Paris and beyond. WB felt since the International Boxing Association (IBA) has still not mended its relationship with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), they were forced to take this step.

"A collection of boxing leaders from National Federations across the world have created a new, not-for-profit, international federation, World Boxing, which aims to ensure that boxing remains at the heart of the Olympic movement," read a statement on the WB website.
"World Boxing has been established in response to the persistent issues surrounding Olympic-style boxing’s existing international governing body, whose failures to address the IOC’s longstanding concerns over sporting integrity, governance, transparency and financial management has placed boxing’s future as an Olympic sport in doubt."
Dutch Boxing Federation chief Boris van der Vorst, who is also part of the interim board of World Boxing, said that they are doing this to help the sport keep its Olympic status. The Dutch federation is part of the eight-nation Common Cause Alliance that also includes the US, Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Canada, Philippines and Ireland. Most of these countries also boycotted the Women's World Boxing Championships in New Delhi.
Interestingly, the IBA allowed Russian and Belarusian boxers to compete under their flags.
"Several national federations were wary with the present situation of boxing and the threat it is facing at the Olympics, so we had to act now and for the future of the boxing community, the next gen boxers in particular," van der Vorst told this daily from England. "We formed this around December and today (Thursday) was the official launch," he said.
"You have seen recent publications in the IOC. The IBA has been in suspension since 2019, four years ago. There is no way the suspension will be lifted in such short-term. This is the biggest nightmare you can face as an administrator, losing the Olympic status. That is not what we want to happen
As for the structure of the WB, it's still an ongoing process." He said that the membership packets will be distributed in a few days but it all depends on the national federations. "It is their responsibility. We have had a lot of conversations in the last few days and I think a lot of national federations will join. It's about competing in the Olympics and I think they should make smart choices," he said, adding that UK boxing and Ireland boxing's support is a strong statement made by  strong boxing nations. "I am very happy that they are part of our group and for them the Olympics is very important. It's a wise decision."
As of now, the new body is not sure how many of the nations are with them, including the Common Cause Alliance. "It's very early to say because every national association will have to follow its own process. They have to change their statutes so that they can join a new IF. For example, the federation I come from, we need to get permission from the general assembly to switch federations."
The official also added that WB has not had communication with the IOC. "Until now, we have not had any discussion with the IOC. It has to be initiated from the boxing world itself. But of course we are looking for professional recognition by the IOC."
As far as the Paris Olympics is concerned, "We are really aiming at keeping our Olympic status. And what will we do for that? We would want to maintain fairplay and even engage independent officials from outside so that the best boxers win."
Will this launch not affect the Olympic qualifications? "We put the interest of boxers first. We are not trying to confuse the boxers at all. This time the qualification could be for example in Europe it will be through European Games and for that IOC will be in charge. We will communicate with the IOC and tell them we are available to assist them."
According to WB, "In the period between the launch of World Boxing and the inaugural Congress it will be led by an interim Executive Board made-up of representatives from boxing organisations in Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sweden and the USA.  It will be overseen on a day-to-day basis by Interim Secretary General, Simon Toulson, who has extensive experience in international sport having previously led the International Canoe Federation (ICF) and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF)."
It needs to be seen how the IBA reacts. IBA chief Umer Kremlev has had a few run-ins with the IOC as well. The IBA did not reply to queries as yet.

The current members of the Interim Executive Board are from eight nations.
Matthew Holt, Chief Executive, GB Boxing; Tyson Lee, President, USA Boxing; Karin Mattsson, Board Member, Swedish Boxing Federation; Michael Mueller, Secretary General, German Boxing Association; Karina Picson, Boxing Competition Official, the Philippines; Lauren Price, Athlete Representative; Richard Torrez Jr, Athlete Representative; Boris van der Vorst, President, Dutch Boxing Federation; Keith Walker, Chair, Boxing New Zealand; Simon Toulson, Interim Secretary General (without voting rights)


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