Umar Kremlev opened the 2022 IBA Women's World Boxing Championships ©IBA

International Boxing Association (IBA) President Umar Kremlev pledged to continue striving for gender equality during the Opening Ceremony of the Women's World Boxing Championships here at the Başakşehir Youth and Sports Facility in Istanbul.

Kremlev, who is standing for re-election at an Extraordinary Congress on Friday and Saturday (May 13 and 14), made a speech at potential his last World Championships as the IBA leader.

The Russian official spoke about the pioneers of women's boxing, praising its development despite still being "relatively young".

"Thanks to the pioneers of women's boxing," said Kremlev. 

"Many of them are here with us today and thanks to you we have this women’s boxing contest. 

"Women's boxing is still relatively young. 

"A record-breaking number of 73 teams are competing here while only 30 competed at the first [Women's World Boxing Championships].

"It demonstrates the growing power of women's boxing around the world. 

"All that would not be possible without the development of women's boxing. 

"It also shows our commitment to gender equality."

Kremlev highlighted a policy introduced on his watch that rewards medal winners at the World Championships for both men and women on an equal basis.

The 2021 edition of the Men's World Boxing Championships and the 2022 edition of the women's event here in Turkey are the first in IBA history to award prize money to medallists.

"That is why I want to continue fighting for the right of women's boxing," added the IBA President. 

Roy Jones Jr is one of the ambassadors for the Women's World Boxing Championships ©IBA
Roy Jones Jr is one of the ambassadors for the Women's World Boxing Championships ©IBA

"I know that our female boxers will continue to write exciting new chapters in sports history.

"To the athletes: remember those who open the doors for you. 

"Respect their efforts and hard work and do the same for new boxers. 

"Please always remember that IBA is your boxing home and we are ready to help you whenever you need."

Event ambassadors Roy Jones Jr, Estelle Mossely and Sarah Ourahmoune all gave speeches, expressing their gratitude for being trusted with their positions.

Ourahmoune and Mossely, both French, are former gold medallists at this event.

American Jones' amateur career including winning the men's light-middleweight silver medal at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, losing the final versus home boxer Park Si-hun in contentious circumstances.

"It's a great opportunity to show that women’s boxing is at its highest," said Ourahmoune via a video message, as she was unable to physically attend.

"Every time a woman steps into the ring, it's one more step towards equality."

Following them were speeches from the Turkish Boxing Federation President Eyüp Gözgeç and Mehmet Baykan from Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Turkey's Olympic and world champion Busenaz Sürmeneli and Susann Köpke from Germany, representing referees and judges, took the oath for clean sport.

Competition is scheduled to start tomorrow evening here in Istanbul with the under-57 kilograms and under-70kg categories.