The International Olympic Committee [IOC] has said it will seek to appoint a suitable new federation partner to facilitate the administration of the prestigious Olympic boxing tournaments. 

A prospective body must come forward by “early 2025” to become a member association of the IOC. 

If no suitable body can be found, boxing’s position in the Olympic movement for the Los Angeles edition in 2028 will be in jeopardy. 

On Tuesday (April 2), the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the IOC’s decision to strip the International Boxing Association [IBA] as a federation partner of the Olympic movement. The IOC removed the IBA’s status due to ongoing issues and concerns regarding the association’s governance, transparency, finances and sporting integrity. 

The IOC had been pressuring the amateur governing body to clean up its act following the conclusion of the Rio 2016 Games. Boardroom conflicts within the IBA have plagued the governing body, resulting in several interim presidents being appointed until Umar Kremlev’s election to the president’s role of the IBA in 2020. 

The IOC has raised concerns regarding Kremlev and his ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with additional concerns regarding the IBA before the amateur body was stripped of its Olympic status. 

The Olympic boxing tournament will proceed as expected at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris, France. The IOC will facilitate and administer the tournament without the assistance of amateur boxing’s governing body. The IOC implemented the same strategy at the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games and ultimately operated the tournament independently, without the aid of the IBA. 

Despite the stormy history between the IOC and boxing, the IOC wishes to maintain boxing’s spot on the Olympic programme in 2028 due to the sport’s inclusivity amongst its athletes. However, the IOC will only do that with the appointment or creation of a “recognised and reliable” international federation.  

“Because of boxing’s universality and high social inclusivity, the IOC wants it to continue to feature on the Olympic Games programme,” the IOC said Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, this is far from certain for the Olympic Games LA 2028 because, for governance reasons, the IOC is not in a position to organize another Olympic boxing tournament. To keep boxing on the Olympic programme, the IOC needs a recognised and reliable international federation as a partner, as with all the other Olympic sports.”

The IOC refused to set any deadlines for the appointment of the new international federation but suggested early 2025 as a cut-off point for a proposed federation to come forward, and for the process to begin of it becoming a recognised federation for boxing. 

The leading candidate to become the sport’s new federation partner is the newly formed organization World Boxing. World Boxing was founded and launched in 2023 by member associations, including GB Boxing and USA Boxing, who became disillusioned with the IBA.