LONDON (AP) — American and British boxing officials launched a breakaway group Thursday with the aim of saving boxing’s place at the Olympics.
The new federation, to be called World Boxing, is a rival to the 77-year-old International Boxing Association, which has been excluded from organizing the sport at the Olympics amid longstanding concerns about fair judging and the IBA’s ties to Russia.
World Boxing will be based in Switzerland and have a board consisting of athletes and officials, including USA Boxing president Tyson Lee and GB Boxing chief executive Matthew Holt. Lauren Price of Britain, a gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, and silver medalist Richard Torrez Jr. of the United States are on the board as athlete representatives.
Elections for a president and a new board are planned for November.
A standoff between the IBA and the International Olympic Committee meant boxing was left off the initial program for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. Boxing is part of next year’s Paris Olympics, but it will be organized by the IOC.
The IOC suspended the IBA in 2019 after years of concerns about its finances, governance and claims that fights at the 2016 Olympics were manipulated. Current IBA president Umar Kremlev took over in 2020, bringing financial backing from Russian state gas company Gazprom.
The IOC wants Russians to compete as neutral athletes in Olympic sports following the invasion of Ukraine, but Kremlev’s IBA has allowed them to fight at the world championships with national flags and anthems, drawing another rebuke from the IOC.
The United States and Britain were among more than 10 countries that announced boycotts of the recent women’s world championships and upcoming men’s world championships because of Russia’s position and wider concerns about the IBA. Kremlev said officials who backed a boycott were “worse than hyenas and jackals.”
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