IBA President Umar Kremlev said he was surprised by the ineligibility of challenger Boris van der Vorst ©IBA

International Boxing Association (IBA) President Umar Kremlev said he was surprised by the ruling that left his election challenger Boris van der Vorst out of contention to run, saying he was looking forward to a "real fight".

Kremlev, speaking to Russia's official state news agency TASS, spoke of IBA's need to improve to regain recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as well as the decision made by the Boxing Independent Integrity Unit (BIIU).

"The decision of the independent nominating group to leave me as the only candidate came as a surprise to me," said Kremlev to TASS.

"I was waiting for a real fight and I was sure that I would win."

Van der Vorst, President of the Dutch Boxing Federation, was intending to stand against the incumbent, but the BIIU deemed him ineligible, along with four standing for the Board of Directors, on the eve of the Extraordinary Congress.

The others ruled out were Boxing New Zealand President Steve Hartley, USA Boxing executive director Mike McAtee, Swedish Boxing Federation President Per-Axel Sjöholm and Danish Boxing Association President Lars Brovil.

Kremlev was announced as the President of IBA by way of acclamation, despite asking members if they would like a vote for the uncontested election.

Dutch Boxing Federation President Boris van der Vorst was ruled ineligible from the Presidential election ©IBA
Dutch Boxing Federation President Boris van der Vorst was ruled ineligible from the Presidential election ©IBA

After failing to implement a provisional measure to have the election not go ahead, Van der Vorst is now appealing the BIIU decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Kremlev had allowed the election to be delayed until day two of the Congress to allow time for CAS' first decision, but postponed it no further.

The IBA President also addressed the issues that face the organisation, with IOC recognition still withdrawn.

This came in November 2019 due to concerns over judging and refereeing, financial stability and governance.

IBA - then known as AIBA - were unable to host the boxing tournaments at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as a result.

"Ultimately, this [IOC recognition] should be decided by the IOC, not the IBA," said Kremlev.

"Of course, we will do our best to give the IBA as much of a chance as possible. 

"Success will require hard work, the ability to listen to people and the willingness to change."

A verdict on that is expected in May 2023.

The head of IBA added the report from integrity expert Professor Richard McLaren, would be published in June.

"It should, among other things, shed light on the activities of the leaders of the International Boxing Association of that period, which eventually led to the current situation with the IOC [International Olympic Committee]," said Kremlev to TASS.

"I look forward to this report."

Critics questioned why the report would not be published until after the Extraordinary Congress.