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June 20, 2022

IBA begins tender process for allocating World Boxing Tour event hosts

The International Boxing Association (IBA) governing body has opened the bidding process for countries and cities to host World Boxing Tour (WBT) events during the 2023-24 period.

By Euan Cunningham

The International Boxing Association (IBA) governing body has opened the bidding process for countries and cities to host World Boxing Tour (WBT) events during the 2023-24 period.

During that timeframe, announced on Saturday (June 18), there will be six such events, which will all offer points towards qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The IBA has said it expects the events to be spread between continents, “ensuring fair opportunities to earn a chance to box” in Paris in two years’ time.

It said over the weekend that it has “provided a hosting outline to national federations, financial expectations, governance models, and more while highlighting the benefits of hosting.”

This outline, the governing body has said, will “enable potential hosts to be more actively engaged in the bid process from an earlier stage and to better understand the WBT events as a platform which creates shared value.”

Umar Kremlev, the IBA’s president, said: “The World Boxing Tour was designed to expand the opportunities we make available for boxers around the world to participate in international tournaments featuring the best boxers. We are excited to partner with National Federations to deliver the WBT and help turn the dreams of boxers worldwide into reality.” 

Istvan Kovacs, the IBA’s secretary, added: “When developing the World Boxing Tour, we had to consider not only IBA’s or the boxers’ needs, but also benefits for the hosts. With our model, hosts can expect a straightforward bidding process, supported event delivery, a partnership approach to rights and responsibilities, reasonable expectations, and significant measures aimed at sustainability and legacy.”

Last week, Kremlev suggested that the IBA would hold new presidential elections after it was ruled that his intended opponent in May’s election (which was, in the end, uncontested), was wrongly banned from taking part in the election.

Russia’s Kremlev was re-elected by acclamation on May 14 with the Netherlands’ Boris van der Vorst having been removed from the ballot at the last minute for a minor campaigning rules infraction.

After the election, van der Vorst appealed to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which has now ruled that he was wrongly barred from competing in the election.

On the back of this ruling, Kremlev, who is currently set to serve until 2026, after first being elected in December 2020, has now said: “Let us have a new election … In boxing, we should never be afraid of competition.”

The governing body’s board will meet on June 24 at its Swiss headquarters in Lausanne to decide how to respond to the CAS ruling.

The IBA (under its previous guide of AIBA) had its Olympic recognition stripped in 2019 for various governance-based and financial misdemeanors. The IOC is currently evaluating whether to give the governing body control of its sport back at the Paris 2024 games.

At the moment, boxing is not on the initial sports program for Los Angeles 2028.

The about-turn from the IBA, after the intervention from CAS, follows the IOC saying last month that the events surrounding the re-election of Kremlev reinforce existing concerns about the governing body’s structure. 

The IOC issued a statement to the media at that point that said: "The events surrounding the IBA's General Assembly, particularly the elections, merit careful analysis and are just reinforcing the questions and doubts around IBA’s governance.”

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