IBA President Umar Kremlev, left, met Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel ©IBA

The International Boxing Association (IBA) has launched a new Pro Series, and its President Umar Kremlev has met Cuban head of state Miguel Díaz-Canel.

Cuba is one of the leading boxing nations at the Olympic Games, topping the medals table at Tokyo 2020 and sitting second on the all-time standings, although its success has been exclusive to the men's events with it yet to enter a boxer into women's competition.

During Kremlev's visit, Díaz-Canel offered Governmental support to the creation of a major boxing institute to provide educational opportunities for coaches and officials, programmes for athletes and a means for socialisation among retired boxers.

The Cuban President also offered his support to next year's celebrations of International Boxing Day on August 27, while the country staging a Diamond Best Series event on the new World Boxing Tour was also discussed.

Kremlev then visited a boxing school near Cuba's capital Havana, providing young athletes with gloves and headguards.

"Our sport has strong roots in Cuba, as the first-ever World Boxing Championships was held in Havana in 1974, and we celebrate International Boxing Day remembering that event," the Russian official, who has led IBA since December 2020 when it was then known as AIBA, said.

"Since then and now, Cuba has many outstanding fighters who perform at the highest level, and we need to create better conditions for them."

Separately, the IBA has unveiled plans for a Pro Series, which it claims will "introduce greater opportunities in support of those boxers who have gained high-level success at the international level" and invite professional boxers to participate alongside World and Continental Championship and Olympic medallists.

The IBA Pro Series is set to launch with an exhibition in Abu Dhabi later this month ©IBA
The IBA Pro Series is set to launch with an exhibition in Abu Dhabi later this month ©IBA

This is set to launch with seven bouts at an exhibition in Abu Dhabi during the Global Boxing Forum on December 11.

The exhibition in Abu Dhabi is due to feature men's bouts with five three-minute rounds and women's bouts with five two-minute rounds, increasing to seven rounds in both in 2023.

The 10-point-must scoring system is to be followed, with each round overseen by five judges.

Female boxers are due to compete without headguards, which the IBA described as "a milestone".

This follows the signing of an agreement between the IBA and World Boxing Association earlier this week aiming to develop a "roadmap of mutual work" and create single regulations for amateur and professional boxing.

Boxing faces a battle to preserve its long-standing Olympic status having been left off the initial programme from Los Angeles 2028 due to "ongoing concerns around its governance, financial transparency and sustainability, and integrity of refereeing and judging process".

AIBA had its recognition suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in June 2019, and the governing body has had no involvement at Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024, despite a rebrand last year.

The manner of Kremlev's re-election earlier this year added to the IOC's concerns.