IOC President Thomas Bach said concerns about the IBA are "not a question of a person" ©ITG

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has insisted that its concerns about the International Boxing Association (IBA) are not related to an individual but "overall governance".

Bach called on the IBA to deliver meaningful change on governance, financial transparency and sustainability, and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes, but claimed that the issue was wider than current President Umar Kremlev.

"This is not a question of a person, this is the question of the overall governance of this Federation at the present time and in the most recent past," the IOC President said at the end of the three-day IOC Executive Board meeting here.

"These issues have to be addressed in a way of substance and by facts and not by some PR efforts, but by measures of substance.

"We will keep monitoring, and let's see what's going to happen."

The IOC yesterday issued a fresh warning to the IBA, and cautioned "if a decision had to be taken today regarding the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028, the IOC EB [Executive Board] would not be able to recommend the IOC Session to include boxing in the sports programme under the authority of the IBA".

Boxing events at Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 have been and will be managed by an IOC Boxing Task Force following the suspension of AIBA, which rebranded as the IBA last year, in 2019.

Russian official Kremlev was elected as President in December 2020 and the IBA has blamed C K Wu, its head from 2006 to 2017, for corruption.

However, the organisation has been unable to win over the IOC with reforms it claims it has implemented.

Thomas Bach insisted with regards to boxing that
Thomas Bach insisted with regards to boxing that "this is not a question of a person, this is the question of the overall governance of this federation" ©IBA

The IBA Extraordinary Congress in Yerevan in September prompted the IOC to declare itself "extremely concerned", after delegates voted against holding a fresh election despite the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling that Dutch official Boris van der Vorst should not have been prevented from standing in Istanbul in May.

Kremlev also suggested "we are going to take our own path" after the Extraordinary Congress, but IBA officials have recently made a fresh push for Olympic inclusion, including the staging of a protest by athletes and coaches led by American former heavyweight world champion Roy Jones Jr outside Olympic House on Monday (December 5).

Boxing remains off the initial programme for Los Angeles 2028, but Bach insisted that the IOC's issue is with the IBA rather than the sport.

"I want to make it clear again that what we are discussing is not so much about boxing and the boxers, it is about the governance of this sport, it's about the federation as it is right now," he said.

"If it would have been about boxing and the boxers, there would have been no boxing in Tokyo and there would be no boxing in Paris.

"The Executive Board is fully conscious of the social values and the globality of boxing as a sport and is taking this into account."

Bach also provided a message to boxers that "it's not about them, but that it's about the governance of their Federation which stands in their way".

IBA President Umar Kremlev has promised to fight for boxing to remain on the Olympic programme under his organisation ©IBA
IBA President Umar Kremlev has promised to fight for boxing to remain on the Olympic programme under his organisation ©IBA

The IBA continued to insist that they believe they have fulfilled the reform mission set for them under Kremlev and do not know what else is required of them. 

"IBA has gone through a comprehensive reform process, supported by leading international experts," a spokesman said. 

"In fact, we have already addressed the majority of the IOC's concerns in regard to governance, financial and sporting integrity over the last two years. 

"That said, the specific concerns of the IOC noted in their letter have not been communicated with us, and we seek clarity on this to continue the progress made by IBA.

"We believe that the organization is on the right track, reinforced by our boxers' reiterated support of IBA as the true home of boxing and the continued athlete-driven approach to governance.

"The future of boxing will be discussed at the Global Boxing Forum this weekend, including boxing's Olympic prospects. 

"As stated by the IBA President, all boxing stakeholders must be involved in this crucial discussion. IBA will gladly share the outcomes of the Forum, which is also available to be watched on our YouTube channel.

"We stand for giving the best opportunities for our athletes, and since the Olympics is one of their dreams, IBA will be fighting to ensure this opportunity for its boxers by fulfilling promises and delivering more reforms.

""What is more, IBA is open to a fair dialogue with the IOC, and we will continue to provide them with all necessary updates on a regular basis.

"With this approach, IBA believes that the way for boxing and IBA at the Olympics will be found."