The International Boxing Association (IBA) governing body has said it “strongly believes” it has made progress in all necessary areas of governance improvement laid down by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

In a 34-page report sent to the IOC on May 5 and now made public, the IBA has said it “strongly believes it meets all necessary criteria to be a part of the Olympic movement, including good governance, finance, and sporting integrity,” adding that it “is looking forward to celebrating the sport at Paris 2024.”

The IBA has not been in charge of boxing events at the Olympics since Rio 2016, with the beleaguered federation having been suspended by the IOC since 2019.

The Olympic body took charge of boxing in Tokyo two years ago and will do the same at Paris 2024.

The IOC held an emergency board meeting yesterday (June 6), to discuss the report.

It has indicated for the last year that, should boxing’s governing body fail to address various areas of concern like those noted above, then the sport will be left off the program for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics entirely. It has repeatedly warned in that time that it has seen no signs of clear progress.

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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.”

Now, however, the IBA has hit back.

Its report states: “IBA did its best to eliminate IOC’s concern on IBA’s different areas of work and to improve them, such as finances, governance, and sports integrity.”

In terms of finance, the IBA has said that, in contrast to the picture the IOC has painted, boxing’s governing body is fully engaged in the process of diversifying its income.

The body has come under regular criticism in the last 18 months regarding its sponsorship deal (now apparently ended) with Russian state-owned energy and oil giant Gazprom. Russian companies have been cold-shouldered by the majority of sporting organizations since the country invaded Ukraine last February, but, up until recently, Gazprom was still on board as an IBA partner.

In its report, however, the IBA has said: “It is a false statement by the IOC that no information on [diversification] of the IBA revenues has been provided …

“In particular, we have significantly increased our incomes from the licensing program, TV and marketing rights, and hosting the competitions.”

The Gazprom links are especially unhelpful for the IBA given that its current president, Umar Kremlev, is Russian and has in various quarters been accused of having a close relationship with that country’s president Vladimir Putin.

The IBA has said the Gazprom deal “expired on 31 December 2022, and has not been extended.”

The governing body has laid much of the blame regarding its perceived poor governance, meanwhile, at the door of its former president, CK Wu.

On that front, it said: "It is necessary to remind that CK Wu at that time was an IOC member, and it is completely wrong that IBA bears full responsibility for the wrongdoings of the IOC member.

“It is hard to believe that the IOC was not aware of the problems in the federation led by an IOC member."

The IBA has also used the report to hit out at the IOC, for example criticizing its decision to unilaterally begin qualifying events for boxing at the Paris Olympics “without the participation of IBA … That created a problematic situation in boxing.”

It has said that all requests from the IBA to enter into dialogue with the IOC “have been disrespectfully ignored.”

The report concluded that “withdrawal of the IBA’s full recognition by the IOC will be not justified, [or a] fair and legally correct decision.

“The IBA seeks acknowledgment of the extraordinary work done under the new management and requests a collaboration … In order to have the event [Paris 2024] run at the highest level.”

George Yerolimpos, the IBA’s secretary general and chief executive, said: “We are extremely proud of all strides made towards creating the organization we have today. The years of intense work have paid off, and the IBA is a role model for international sports federations. Today, for the sake of full transparency, we publish our report, as we have nothing to hide. We sincerely hope that the IOC has read the 400-page report in its entirety to take a correct and balanced decision regarding the future of boxing,”

One of the biggest thorns in the side of the IBA in recent times has been the launch of the Swiss-based World Boxing.

That organization launched in mid-April and is now slowly securing national federations as members.

The latest of these is GB Boxing, the UK body, which announced yesterday that it is set to apply for associate World Boxing membership.

GB Boxing said the decision “reflects its determination to support World Boxing’s commitment to sporting integrity and good governance and its efforts to ensure boxing is kept on the Olympic program.”

So far, USA Boxing and the Swiss Boxing Federation have left the IBA and applied for World Boxing membership. It is likely that Boxing New Zealand will do the same soon.

World Boxing is, for now, led by an interim board containing representatives from Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sweden, and the US.