Umar Kremlev, Estelle Mossely and Sofiane Oumiha in Paris.  ©

"Boxing is a cornerstone of the Olympic movement. If boxing is removed from the Olympic Games, it will be the Olympics that lose, not boxing, because it is very popular." This statement comes from Umar Kremlev, President of the International Boxing Association (IBA), and was made during the press conference held on Thursday, November 16, at the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris.

The IBA's top official announced significant events and a prosperous future for boxing. He emphasized, "We will defend the rights of athletes and tournaments because the IBA is the world's leading federation, whether professional or not, and the goal is to remain number one." 

Kremlev was joined by more than 70 journalists from around the world and nearly a hundred guests, including Estelle Mossely, France's World and Olympic champion, and Sofiane Oumiha, a three-time World champion and Olympic silver medalist, both of whom supported the IBA's roadmap for the future.

"No matter what happens, the situation will not be detrimental to boxing. Boxing will continue to be part of the Olympic Games," added Kremlev, advocating for dialogue and expressing that more federations mean more opportunities for prosperity worldwide. He stressed, "The world of boxing is a world of friendship."

With a hectic schedule ahead, including the organization of global events such as the Junior World Championship in Armenia and the Champions' Night in Dubai, scheduled for December 9-12, Kremlev addressed the IBA's situation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). 

He assured that there is no major concern, stating: "We are not very worried about the case. We support our boxers and our tournaments, and in relation to the IOC, we will defend our boxers regarding the IOC's decision." 

The president announced, "We will defend our right, and if that does not work, we will go to a court in Switzerland." He added, "It was not the Olympic family that made this decision but Olympic officials. Boxing is our life, and we will defend our rights," responding to numerous journalists on a rainy day in Paris.

Despite lamenting the current situation, the IBA president insisted, "The Olympics are not the most important. World championships are more relevant." The conference also focused on the IBA's absolute desire for fairness and to avoid decisions that end careers, with Kremlev citing alleged lack of impartiality by judges and referees. 

He provided an example of a friend who lost to Felix Stumer due to incorrect decisions and emphasized the need for fair judgments to prevent ruining boxers' careers. Kremlev concluded this topic with a strong statement, "Corruption has always existed, and if we find a transgression in a judge, we will expel them for life."

The two-hour event covered various topics. According to the IBA president, "Sports should be separate from politics," and some decisions were politically motivated, suggesting that those individuals should focus on politics. Kremlev expressed confidence, stating, "We will have federations that will be part of the IBA because they are not interested in political cases."

Before discussing the upcoming boxing events in Dubai with the Champions' Night and announcing that France would host "two or more tournaments of great importance" due to its significant efforts with the Games and support, the president noted the alleged corruption in 2016. He emphasized transparency, especially at the Games, stating, "We supervise because we want athletes to have guarantees for the game, and that's why at the Games, we hope everything is transparent because the world is watching."

The issue of national flags was also addressed, with Kremlev questioning, "Why can Israel participate, and Russia cannot?" He argued that competing under a neutral flag is a humiliation, as athletes want to represent their countries, firmly stating, "I am not the boss of all boxers."

Referring to a restaurant analogy, Kremlev emphasized that people and athletes should not be forced to do something they do not want, saying, "If you are the manager of a restaurant and force customers to eat something they don't want, you will lose customers."

Estelle Mossely then took the floor, explaining her role in working with a promotional organization to reach young people. She emphasized the need for coaches to lead sessions, standardizing rules for better understanding, and her presence as a reference for youth and talent development in the sport.

The French boxing star highlighted the December 9 event in Dubai, where renowned boxers will gather, concluding the Ordinary IBA Congress and the Global Forum in the United Arab Emirates. She noted that the Dubai events are not only for professionals but also for amateurs and those who do not have the opportunity to earn money, calling it a positive change. Estelle shared her experience of participating in the first Champions' Night, and Kremlev praised the financial rewards offered, encouraging bloggers to participate.

Sofiane Oumiha expressed gratitude for the work of the IBA and its vision for the future.

IBA President Umar Kremlev met Pope Francis in the Vatican. IBA.
IBA President Umar Kremlev met Pope Francis in the Vatican. IBA.

The conference addressed the recent audience that Pope Francis had with Umar Kremlev, focusing on thr promotion of peace worldwide. The president communicated the IBA's mission to use sports as a means to achieve communication and peace. Kremlev introduced the idea of a cathedral for sports, where champions would have the opportunity to defend their titles. 

He emphasized promoting sports among children to deter drug use, especially among the less fortunate. Kremlev considered it fortunate that Paris would host the Olympics, announcing plans for two tournaments, with a possible consideration for France in 2026. Winners would have the opportunity to participate in professional fights.

The Parisian conference concluded with several wishes expressed by the IBA's top official. He emphasized that the IBA is the home of boxers and will remain committed to them from a young age to continue their development. He expressed a desire to make boxing the most popular sport in the Middle East and noted the growth in selling broadcasting rights to many countries. The president thanked everyone and encouraged fearless truth-telling, especially by those who write about sports.