USA Boxing executive director Mike McAtee is under investigation by the IBA’s Boxing Independent Integrity Unit after being accused of breaching ethics rules ©IBA

USA Boxing has dismissed allegations that its executive director Mike McAtee encouraged other nations to boycott the International Boxing Association (IBA) Men’s and Women’s World Championships.

The national governing body has hit back at what it described as "baseless" claims after the IBA’s Boxing Independent Integrity Unit (BIIU) launched an investigation into possible breaches of its ethics rules by McAtee and four other officials.

The five boxing leaders are accused of violating several articles in the IBA’s Disciplinary and Ethics Code, including "inciting a boycott" relating to the Men’s and Women’s World Championships.

Boxing Canada President Ryan O'Shea, Czech Boxing Association leader Marek Šimák, Swedish Boxing Association chair Per-Axel Sjöholmv and Boxing New Zealand President Steve Hartley are also under investigation.

The BIIU revealed that it had "received a complaint against certain individuals for a breach of the IBA Constitution and its Disciplinary and Ethics Code with their public actions".

USA Boxing released a statement, saying that it "cannot respond directly" to the allegations of the complaint "as it has not been communicated" to them but dismissed claims McAtee led a boycott of IBA’s flagship events.

"Indeed, it is unclear how a complaint that was supposed to be filed with BIIU found its way into the hands of IBA to exploit for IBA’s political agenda," USA Boxing said.

"In any event, the allegation that Mr McAtee promoted a boycott against IBA is baseless.

"Neither he nor USA Boxing has advised anyone except USA Boxing athletes with respect to entry in IBA’s World Championship tournaments.

"Inasmuch as IBA has elected to make this a public discussion, Mr. McAtee and USA Boxing stand by their position."

USA Boxing was the first national governing body to announce a boycott of the Women's World Championships ©Getty Images
USA Boxing was the first national governing body to announce a boycott of the Women's World Championships ©Getty Images

USA Boxing became the first national governing body to boycott the two events, citing the "the ongoing failures of IBA and respect for the Olympic Charter" as reasons for the country's withdrawal on February 8.

Since then, the National Federations of Norway, Ukraine, Poland, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Britain, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Canada have announced that they will not be sending boxers to the Women's World Championships, scheduled to be held from March 14 to 26 in Indian capital New Delhi.

Many of those organisations have also decided to pull out of the Men’s World Championships, due to take place from May 1 to 14 in Uzbek capital Tashkent.

The presence of Russian and Belarusian boxers has been cited as a reason why the boycotting nations have refused to participate in IBA's flagship events.

The IBA, led by controversial Russian official Umar Kremlev, lifted a ban on boxers from Russia and Belarus competing under their own flag last October despite the International Olympic Committee’s recommendations to the contrary because of the war in Ukraine.

Several of the boycotting bodies, including USA Boxing are members of the Common Cause Alliance, led by Dutch official Boris van der Vorst that seeks to prioritise the preservation of boxing's place at the Olympics from Los Angeles 2028, which is in doubt because of governance concerns.

Boxing New Zealand President Steve Hartley is among the five officials that is accused of leading a boycott of IBA's flagship events ©IBA
Boxing New Zealand President Steve Hartley is among the five officials that is accused of leading a boycott of IBA's flagship events ©IBA

USA Boxing also reiterated its criticism of the IBA’s decision to unveil its own Olympic qualification system that includes the two World Championships despite being stripped of the rights to do so by the IOC.

The IOC has stressed that the IOC will not be involved in organising Paris 2024’s boxing qualifiers and tournament due to governance issues.

"IBA has announced to the world that it has adopted an IOC-approved Olympic Qualification System when it knows it has been banished from participation in or control of entry onto the Paris Games," USA Boxing added.

"In addition, while IBA’s own constitution require that it conduct itself in a manner to preserve Olympic recognition, it is promoting tournaments that flout IOC limitations and thereby further endangering the sport of Boxing in the Olympics.

"USA Boxing believes that Olympic Boxing is the pinnacle of boxing competition, and that the IBA has a fiduciary responsibility to National Federations to promote inclusion of boxing in the Olympics.

"So long as IBA refuses to conduct its governance and operations in a manner that satisfies those fiduciary responsibilities, USA Boxing cannot support IBA by participating in its competitions.

"This is a matter that is inherently within USA Boxing’s sovereign rights as a National Federation of IBA, and every other National Federation has the right and the obligation to formulate independently its own position concerning IBA’s conduct."