Seoul 1988 boxing medallist Roy Jones Jr has suggested that boxing missing out on the Olympics would be similar to "committing a crime" ©Getty Images

Olympic silver medallist Roy Jones Jr has suggested boxing's exclusion from the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games would be similar to "committing a crime", as he rebuked the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) threat to leave the sport off the programme.

Boxing could potentially be facing the axe from LA 2028 following a series of governance issues with the IOC expected to discuss the International Boxing Association (IBA)'s latest activities, including the recent Extraordinary Congress, at its Board meeting in December.

The IBA was not allowed to participate in the organisation of the boxing tournament at the re-arranged Olympic Games last year in Tokyo and has also been excluded from having a role at Paris 2024.

Boxing's issues date back to when the IBA was known as the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA).

C K Wu - a former IOC member - was elected to the AIBA Presidency in 2006 but resigned from the position in November 2017 following allegations of financial mismanagement and accounting irregularities.

Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren has since published a series of reports in December 2021 and June of this year after IBA commissioned him to investigate historical claims of wrongdoing in Olympic boxing.

In an open letter to IOC President Thomas Bach, the IOC Executive Committee and the wider boxing community, Jones insisted the sport should not pay the price for the previous mismanagement of the IBA's predecessor as he seeks to sway the IOC from removing boxing from the Olympic programme for the first time in 116 years.

"To exclude boxing from the Olympic Games would be nonsense, it would be no less than committing a crime," Jones wrote.

"The IOC threatens us that the future of boxing at the Olympic Games is in jeopardy, because of their relationships with the IBA.

"However, we all are aware of who destroyed it.

C K Wu resigned as head of AIBA after allegations of financial mismanagement and accounting irregularities ©AIBA
C K Wu resigned as head of AIBA after allegations of financial mismanagement and accounting irregularities ©AIBA

"His name is C.K. Wu, he was AIBA President for many years, as well as an IOC member back then.

"Ask yourself how he managed to hide corruption in boxing, which existence is proven by independent experts.”

He continued: "Some said that 'boxing committed suicide', but, in fact, this is a huge mistake to call it suicide because our sport was simply killed way before!

"Those murderers are set free, nobody pled guilty.

"The independent investigation showed that many people were involved in wrongdoings, including the former IOC member C.K. Wu, who led AIBA to the collapse - the organisation was nearly bankrupt and on the edge of non-existence."

Historic issues are not the only concerns of the IOC, with it openly criticising the IBA for its handling of the recent Extraordinary Congress in Yerevan, Armenia.

The IOC said it was "extremely concerned" after members strongly voted 106-36 in favour of not staging a re-run of the Presidential election, where Dutch official Boris van der Vorst would have stood against IBA President Umar Kremlev of Russia.

It also criticised the International Federation for suspending the Boxing Federation of Ukraine two days before the Extraordinary Congress due to "Government interference" and called the voting procedure at the meeting, which was delayed by more than an hour due to a power cut, as "chaotic".

The International Olympic Committee has said it is
The International Olympic Committee has said it is "extremely concerned" by events at last month's IBA Extraordinary Congress in Yerevan ©IBA

However, Jones claimed "the IBA has democratically voted" for the Kremlev-led leadership.

The IBA's decision to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to return, despite the war in Ukraine continuing, has also created greater division with it being the first Olympic body to do so.

Jones supported the international governing body on this issue, commenting "we shouldn't differentiate people by their nationalities."

In further signs of support, the former professional boxing champion praised the actions of the IBA to right the wrongs of its past.

He claimed it has made strides to implement fair refereeing and judging, citing the last two World Championships in Belgrade and Istanbul as well as the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as "the most successful" in this regard and alleged it has cleared its debts.

Kremlev has previously suggested the IBA is debt-free thanks to its controversial sponsorship deal with Russian state-owned utility company Gazprom.

Jones, who further insisted transparent recommendations are being implemented, concluded his letter by pleading to the IOC to see the changes that have been made.

"Within a limited term, IBA cleaned the house and became one of the best International Federations in the sports world, which tirelessly takes care of its athletes and coaches," he wrote.

A controversial sponsorship agreement with Gazprom has allegedly stabilised the IBA's finances ©Getty Images
A controversial sponsorship agreement with Gazprom has allegedly stabilised the IBA's finances ©Getty Images

"Ask yourself whether any other federation could do at least half of it in similarly short terms.

"I am convinced that the IBA is on the right track.

"Let the organisation work, let it develop boxing around the world.

"Let bygones be bygones!

"Given the mistakes of the past, the IOC should not impose their functionaries and dictate, they must help.

"I really hope that in the existing circumstances, the IOC will reconsider its attitude to the situation and will cooperate."

He added: "I urge the IOC to keep their ears open and listen to the boxing community, which calls for transparent and fair decisions.

"Everyone sees how IBA has changed, but you."

You can read the full letter here.