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IOC Threatening to Remove Boxing from 2024 Paris Olympics over Governance Issues

Adam WellsDecember 23, 2022

TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 08: Lauren Price (R) of Team Great Britain and Qian Li of Team China in action during the Women's Middle (69-75kg) Final bout on day sixteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games at Kokugikan Arena on August 08, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Elif Ozturk Ozgoncu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Elif Ozturk Ozgoncu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Governance issues within the International Boxing Association could result in boxing being dropped from the 2024 Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee said in a statement that the IBA Congress has shown once more that IBA has "no real interest in the sport of boxing and the boxers, but is only interested in its own power."

The statement also points to the IOC's previous concern that the IBA backed Umar Kremlev to remain president of the association instead of holding an election:

"This announcement confirms that IBA will continue to depend on a company which is largely controlled by the Russian government. The concerns also include the recent handling of the CAS decision which did not lead a new Presidential election, but only a vote not to hold an election. The IOC will have to take all this into consideration when it takes further decisions, which mayโ€“after these latest developmentsโ€“have to include the cancellation of boxing for the Olympic Games Paris 2024."

Some of the issues date back to the 2016 Games because of concerns over corruption with the officiating.

The Amateur International Boxing Association (the previous title for the IBA) suspended all 36 judges and referees who worked the Rio Olympics amid an investigation into corrupt judging.

Professor Richard McLaren, who was hired to lead AIBA's investigation, determined a system was put in place by officials to manipulate the outcome of boxing matches.

Two bouts were specifically cited as having "caused the system to publicly collapse," including the men's bantamweight quarterfinal between Ireland's Michael Conlan and Russia's Vladimir Nikitin and men's heavyweight gold-medal match between Russia's Evgeny Tischenko and Kazakhstan's Vasily Levit.

The investigation indicated at least 11 bouts were deemed "suspicious."

Conlan even tweeted at Russian president Vladimir Putin after his loss, asking how much he was charged to fix the result:

Michael Conlan @mickconlan11

Hey Vlad <a href="https://twitter.com/PutinRF_Eng?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PutinRF_Eng</a> <br><br>How much did they charge you bro?? <a href="https://twitter.com/aiba_boxing?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AIBA_Boxing</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rio2016?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Rio2016</a> ๐Ÿ˜˜

At a recent forum in Abu Dhabi, Kremlev addressed the International Olympic Committee.

"I would also like to say to the International Olympic Committee that they can issue recommendations to us, but they have no right to dictate to us how to live," he said, according to a translation from NBC Sports' Olympic Talk. "Not a single other organization should interfere or meddle in the business of our association. I would like to urge the International Olympic Committee to create a working party, and we will resolve everything quite quickly. There will be no problems."

The IOC executive board announced in June the IBA would not run qualifying events and competitions leading up to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The IOC oversaw boxing at the Tokyo Games and will do so again in Paris if the sport remains part of the Olympic program.

Boxing debuted at the Summer Games in 1904. It has been a part of the Olympic program in every cycle since 1920.

The qualifying period for the 2024 Games begins May 1, 2023.