The embattled International Boxing Association (IBA) has officially suspended the national federations of New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands, with those bodies having involved themselves with the rival World Boxing organization.
The IBA has said the quartet of national federations are guilty of breaching its rules and that “none refused categorically their participation in the rogue governing body, nor distanced themselves from the organization.”
The suspensions, announced yesterday (May 22), are not a surprise, given formal disciplinary proceedings were opened against World Boxing and these same four federations earlier this month, with the Boxing Independent Integrity Unit (BIIU).
The World Boxing interim executive board, unveiled when the organization formally launched in mid-April, features representatives from the US, the UK, and the Philippines, as well as New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
USA Boxing has already been suspended by the IBA as a consequence of its decision to join World Boxing and is currently the subject of disciplinary action by the governing body.
The IBA has said the aforementioned four national federations could be readmitted if their involvement with World Boxing ceases and that they will also be expected to publish statements on their respective websites “explicitly condemning any attempts to establish an alternative international boxing federation.”
The governing body confirmed that boxers and officials from suspended federations are still eligible to take part in international competitions with national flags and anthems but without federation symbols.
World Boxing has said it was created in order to save boxing as an Olympic event, with the sport currently not set to feature at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games. The IBA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have had an extremely rocky relationship in recent years, with the latter handling all boxing events at Paris 2024.
The IBA filed a complaint with the BIIU against the new entity on April 26.
The IOC has taken issue with multiple aspects of the IBA’s affairs in recent years, most notably its internal governance, its financial dependence on Russian energy giant Gazprom (although the boxing body has said that tie-up is now concluded), and its stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine (with the IBA having permitted Russian boxers to take part in its competitions under their own flag).
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.”
In early May, however, the IBA sent a 400-page report to the IOC detailing alleging improvements made to the IBA’s governance over the last two years.
The boxing body has also established an ad hoc communication committee to establish a better channel of communication with the Olympic authorities.
The IBA has also suspended the Czech Republic’s boxing federation, as a result of that body organizing an event in late April in which USA Boxing members were allowed to take part (after that body had suffered its own suspension from the IBA).
After USA Boxing’s decision, the IBA said that all the organization’s members – including officials, coaches, and boxers – were banned from having any relationship with the IBA and from participating in any of its affiliated competitions.
The IBA has said the Czech body will be reinstated as long as it provides an apology and confirms that no other ineligible boxers will be allowed to compete in its events going forward.
Elsewhere, the boxing federations of Liberia and of Equatorial Guinea have been suspended for failing to provide annual reports, as per the IBA’s membership policy.