'GGG' was considered by many the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. GETTY IMAGES

In the fight for Olympic programme validation in Los Angeles 2028, ‘GGG’ has sided with the US-backed federation instead of the International Boxing Association.

Gennady Golovkin never said no to a fight and seems to be back in full form at 42 years old despite retiring from the ring in 2023. In the contentious landscape of global boxing, where the International Olympic Committee decided to ban the IBA from the Games, the recently appointed president of Kazakhstan’s National Olympic Committee has decided to join the fray and his position is quite clear: he has picked World Boxing’s corner, instead of Umar Kremlev’s association.

"We on our part are trying to convince them (Kazakhstan boxing federation) to join the World Boxing and we try to insist on that," Golovkin recently told Reuters. "We are trying to do that and we will try to continue to push them to that decision. It's the federation of boxing of Kazakhstan that makes this decision and it is their freedom of choice. Their decision.”

Despite the ban citing "unclear funding", IBA officials have expressed their belief that their affiliated boxers will be finally able to compete in LA28, even after the IOC urged national federations to come up with an alternate plan by the end of 2025. “Of course boxing will be part of LA28. But they will reduce the weight categories to five and five on gender equality. It’s seven and six and it should be 13 and 12,” IBA secretary general, Chris Roberts, told Inside The Games late June. “IBA boxers will be there, yes. Are they going to punish the athlete? It goes against the grain of the Olympic charter, doesn’t it?”

'GGG' was considered by many the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. GETTY IMAGES
'GGG' was considered by many the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. GETTY IMAGES

Last week, the IBA filed an appeal with the Swiss Federal Tribunal against the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), alleging that political, personal, economic and many other factors have led to a situation in which their boxers are uncertain about how to proceed with their individual performance pathways and sporting careers. "With the court hearings continuing it only hampers the athletes," said Golovkin. "We stand with the athletes because we want boxing to stay in the Olympic programme.”

While the whole boxing embroglio untangles itself, the IOC will organise the Olympic tournament temporarily but is eyeing some sort of resolution for the following Summer Games in US territory, as pressure has been mounting of late for national federations to leave the IBA with the threat that their boxers might not be allowed to step on the 2028 Olympic ring.

A silver medallist at the 2004 Athens Olympics who went on to post a professional record of 42 wins (37 by KO), two losses and a draw, Golovkin downplayed his sway over Kazakhstan’s stance regarding World Boxing. "I do not have any weight from a legal standpoint, I cannot influence the decision of the federation and they are going through their own process," he told Reuters. "At the same the same time the IOC already took a decision and published the requirements and direction and from the IOC point of view it is clear, what steps need to be done in order to preserve boxing in the Olympic programme."

Even afterIBA pointing out that no federations have resigned from the association and that “there is no dual membership”, some already announced their allegiance to World Boxing after pressure from the IOC increased.

On Friday, Tricia Heberle admitted she would be "really worried for Irish boxing" if the sport were to lose its Olympic status. "Many children aspire to go to the Olympic Games," she said, as reported by the Irish News portal.

Despite its ten qualified athletes for its Paris 2024 team, the country’s high performance director is calling for a solution to the post-Games uncertainty, as the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) remained under the IBA structure in 2023 following the creation of World Boxing.