IABA Boycott World Championships
The Irish Athletic Boxing Association has pulled out of the International Boxing Association (IBA) Men’s and Women’s World Boxing Championships.
The IABA made the move in protest of the governance of the governing body for the sport.
It means Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke, who won gold medals at the 2022 Women’s World Championships, will be unable to defend their titles in New Delhi; while men’s hopefuls will not travel to Tashkent for their tournament.
The IABA Board of Directors and Central Council in Dublin voted 15-5 in favour of a boycott.
Ireland follow the USA in electing against entering the tournament. USA Boxing announced it would not send boxers to the Championships, due to “the ongoing failures of IBA and respect for the Olympic Charter”, with the sport’s Olympic future still hanging in the balance.
For a second straight Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is to organise the boxing tournaments at the Olympics, while the sport is not yet on the programme for Los Angeles 2028.
Ireland are closely aligned with the Common Cause Alliance (CCA), a group of nations whose focus is for boxing to remain at the Olympics. An Irish Team will be sent to the European Games, which double up as Olympic qualifiers.
A statement released by the IABA today said:
“Irish Athletic Boxing Association athletes will not take part in the IBA Women’s World Championships in India in March, or the IBA Men’s World Championships in Uzbekistan in May. IABA referees and judges will not officiate at either tournament.
“The decision was taken on Thursday night, following a joint meeting of the IABA’s Board of Directors, Central Council and Unit representatives.
“The IABA urges the IBA to engage in governance reform and implement the recommendations of its own experts on fiscal responsibility, fair play, and inclusion. IBA practices and activities are not of the standard required to secure our sport’s future. There are no winners in the current landscape. All members deserve a level playing field in tournaments run to the highest possible standard by an organization which has their welfare, their futures, and their sport at its heart.
“The IABA and its athletes are focused on preparations for the European Games in June, and winning qualification to Paris 2024. That preparation will include training camps, sparring camps and tournaments with sister federations. The IABA will continue to create opportunities for training, development, and competition for its boxers, nationally and internationally, across all age groups.”
There does appear to be general support for the move among the boxing community but there will be a price to pay for the boycott. Underage boxers in particular could miss out as it will most likely mean Ireland won’t enter the international underage tournaments. Plus those at non-Olympic weights have less chance of securing international medals and thus funding.