The beleaguered International Boxing Association (IBA) governing body has said that member federations that get involved in the newly launched World Boxing organization will incur sanctions such as exclusion.

World Boxing was unveiled yesterday (April 13) as a new international federation operating out of Switzerland.

It has been set up with the purpose of shoring up boxing’s – currently under scrutiny – status as an Olympic sport, with it having been left off the initial program for the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 2028 as a years-old row with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) continues.

Now, in an open letter, the IBA has unleashed a predictable tirade against its new rival, however, dismissing World Boxing as a “rogue” body and decrying “the efforts of individuals to damage the significant strides taken by the IBA over the last years to secure boxers’ the best future possible future.”

It said the move “does not come as a surprise to the IBA” and that it has “initiated a series of actions to protect its autonomy as the official worldwide governing body and global home of boxing.”

The IBA has said that national federations, teams, individual athletes, and competition officials that take part in any competition organized by World Boxing – which plans to begin such events either next year or in 2025 – will be the subject of disciplinary action from the Boxing Independent Integrity Unit.

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The Swiss-based IBA has threatened with expulsion entities and individuals that do sign up with the not-for-profit World Boxing, which currently has no members but will launch an application scheme next month.

World Boxing’s interim executive board – until an inaugural congress to be held later this year – features representatives from the UK, the US, Sweden, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Germany, and the Philippines, with Simon Toulson as its interim secretary general. He held the same role at the International Canoe Federation from 2008 to last year.

Speaking to media yesterday, those representatives suggested they wanted no immediate quarrel with the IBA, with that organization not being their primary focus at this time.

However, the IBA, led by Russia’s Umar Kremlev, has unsurprisingly seen the move as an existential threat and has come out strongly against what it sees as an imposter.

George Yerolimpos, secretary general at the IBA, said: "Ultimately, rogue world governing bodies and orchestrated coups are nothing new to sport, and like any well-governed organization, there are mechanisms put in place to protect the organization, its members, and in the end, the athletes.

"However, it is unacceptable that the countless governance reforms conducted by the IBA, go unrecognized, and the pathway to our Olympic recognition was nothing but a predetermined dead-end.

"For those involved in the creation of the rogue international boxing organization and the nations who claim to be members of it, there is no doubt that the IBA will reserve its rights to claim damages from any person who is harming the IBA's activities and reputation, and/or trying to achieve exclusion of the IBA from the Olympic family."

Lauren Price and Richard Torrez Jr. are the two athlete representatives on the interim World Boxing board at the moment.

In a lengthy statement, the IBA said: “There is no other reason of establishing a rogue organization, other than to attempt to destroy the integrity of the International Boxing Association.

"The IBA strongly condemns the efforts of individuals to damage the significant strides taken by the IBA over the last years to secure boxers the best future possible.

"Ambitions of individuals will never serve as a solid foundation for a successful organization nor the destructive motives that have led to the creation of this rogue organization."

The body has cited the IBA Constitution, the IBA Membership Policy, the IBA Disciplinary and Ethics Code, and its Technical and Competition Rules, in threatening the aforementioned sanctions on those intending to join World Boxing.

Yesterday, Toulson told media: “We don’t want a fight with the IBA – but there is a chance there’ll be a legal challenge from them.

“We don’t want it to get nasty, we don’t want this to become an issue and distract from what we’re trying to do. The IBA can challenge us if they like – we don’t fear that.

“There is no restriction on national federations being part of two organizations – there’s no legal reason why you can’t be an IBA member and a World Boxing member at the moment … If an association wants to join which is part of the IBA, they’re more than welcome.”

The IBA has been banned by the IOC since 2019 because of issues across a range of areas, most notably its internal governance and its financial affairs. It is heavily reliant on sponsorship funding from Gazprom, the energy giant backed by the Russian state.

As a result of wrangling between the IOC and the IBA which has been going on for a number of years, boxing had its Tokyo 2020 Olympic events run by the IOC in Japan two years ago, with the same situation in line for Paris 2024.

The IBA, under Kremlev, has also contravened IOC guidance in allowing Russian and Belarusian boxers to compete under their own countries’ flags in recent weeks. The majority of the sporting world turned its back on that duo following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

In December, the IOC said the IBA would continue to be shut out of future Olympic programs until it implements a “drastic change of culture.”

One of the members of the World Boxing interim executive board, the Netherlands' Boris van der Vorst, attempted to run against Kremlev for the IBA presidency in May last year, only to then be declared ineligible for a minor campaigning infraction.

Kremlev was then re-elected by acclamation, a move that the IOC described at the time as very concerning.