Amateur boxing was dealt a hammer blow recently as the International Olympic Committee expressed the possibility that the sport may not return for 2024 games in Paris.
Boxing is not on the initial programme for Los Angeles in 2028 as the IOC has demanded reform of the International Boxing Association, which oversees the amateur ranks.
The IBA is under major Russian influence and was barred from having any involvement in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo as a result.
Moscow native, Umar Kremlev, runs the IBA, and the organisation are financially backed by Russian energy firm Gazprom. With regards to Kremlev and Gazprom’s involvement, a statement from the IOC read:
“The recent IBA Congress has shown once more that IBA has no real interest in the sport of boxing and the boxers, but is only interested in its own power.”
“The decisions and discussions to keep boxers away from the Olympic qualifiers and the Olympic Games cannot be understood differently.”
“The extension of the sponsorship contract with Gazprom as sole main sponsor of IBA reinforces the concerns, which the IOC has expressed since 2019 over and over again.”
There were talks of the IBA staging a presidential election earlier this year, however this was remarkably voted down during a congress in September, allowing Kremlev to remain at the helm.
Boris van der Vorst was tipped to be Kremlev’s main rival should an election have taken place, and a Court Arbitration for Sport ruling deemed the Dutchman was unfairly prevented from running.
In their statement, the IOC revealed the halting of an election was a factor that could deny the return of boxing to the 2028 games.
“The IOC will have to take all this into consideration when it takes further decisions, which may – after these latest developments – have to include the cancellation of boxing for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.”
The Olympics have helped star amateurs turn professional and reach superstardom in the past, with the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Claressa Shields, Oleksandr Usyk, and Anthony Joshua all following that path.