Umar Kremlev has called those who voted to boycott the World Championships "worse than hyenas and jackals" ©IBA

International Boxing Association (IBA) President Umar Kremlev has hit back at USA Boxing's decision to boycott this year's Men's and Women's World Boxing Championships, calling those who voted in favour "worse than hyenas and jackals".

Since then, the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) have also withdrawn from the Championships, in protest of the IBA's governance of the sport.

Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O'Rourke, gold medallists at the 2022 IBA Women's World Championships in Istanbul, will be unable to defend their titles in New Delhi next month. 

The men's team will not travel to Tashkent for their tournament in May.

The IABA Board of Directors and Central Council in Dublin voted 15-5 in favour of a boycott, according to the Irish Independent.

"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 said in a statement.

"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."

Ireland is to boycott the upcoming World Boxing Championships ©IBA
Ireland is to boycott the upcoming World Boxing Championships ©IBA

The IABA cited concerns about the management of IBA under Kremlev as their primary reason for withdrawing.

"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," they said in the statement. 

"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."

Amy Broadhurst was one of Ireland's top boxers going into the Women's World Championships ©IBA
Amy Broadhurst was one of Ireland's top boxers going into the Women's World Championships ©IBA

Previously, 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.

During a media conference before the finals of the World Boxing Tour Golden Belt Series tournament in Marrakesh, Kremlev claimed he sympathised with the boxers affected.

"Not one of the sports administrators or politicians in the world is entitled to deprive athletes of their dream to become world champions," said Kremlev,

"Those, who are doing this to our athletes, are worse than hyenas and jackals, they violate the integrity of sport and culture. 

"IBA will do its utmost to help athletes from the USA to come and participate in the World Boxing Championships and will assist them, including financially.

"I urge all my colleagues to clear their organisations of such hyenas, as I can’t call them another way."

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.

Both countries are closely aligned with the Common Cause Alliance (CCA), a group of nations whose focus is for boxing to remain at the Olympics.

Rashida Ellis will not be able to defend her women's world title due to the American boycott ©IBA
Rashida Ellis will not be able to defend her women's world title due to the American boycott ©IBA

Roy Jones Jr, a close ally of Kremlev, had earlier sent a statement to the media criticising USA Boxing's decision to boycott the World Championships.

"I was bitterly disappointed to hear about the IBA World Boxing Championships boycott," he said.

"On their official website, they give hackneyed statements that have nothing to do with reality.

"I would like to reassure the athletes, coaches and all boxing fans of the United States that this decision was made only by officials, and not by the boxers themselves.

"I will personally organise, help and support for national team boxers and coaches who would like to take part in these Championships. 

"The IBA has wonderful programmes to support its athletes who, for whatever reason, do not have the opportunity to compete in New Delhi and Tashkent."

Jones also dismissed criticisms over management and financial transparency, accusing officials of sitting in "their huge offices" speaking politics instead of helping the boxers.

The IBA's relationship with the IOC hit a new low in September when an election was not held between Kremlev and previously wrongly-dismissed candidate Boris van der Vorst, President of the Dutch Boxing Federation, who is also aligned with the CCA.

It stemmed back to van der Vorst being incorrectly deemed ineligible by the Boxing Independent Integrity Unit from the May election, with this being appealed successfully.

In Yerevan at the second IBA Extraordinary Congress, a vote was held over whether an election should take place, with members voting against this.

Roy Jones Jr, left, is a close ally of controversial IBA President Umar Kremlev, right, and has regularly supported him ©IBA
Roy Jones Jr, left, is a close ally of controversial IBA President Umar Kremlev, right, and has regularly supported him ©IBA

Since then, boxers from Russia and Belarus have been voted back into IBA tournaments at a Board meeting and the Boxing Federation of Ukraine was suspended for three months due to governance concerns.

The Gazprom sponsorship deal was also renewed, one of the IOC's great concerns about financial transparency and sustainability, leading to further uncertainty over the sport featuring at Paris 2024 or beyond.

At the turn of the year, it was announced Kremlev ally Abdulmutalim Abakarov was appointed vice-president of the IBA, following the introduction of a new article at the IBA Congress in Abu Dhabi, allowing the President to have up to four vice-presidents.

During his amateur career, Jones Jr took the silver medal at the Seoul 1988 Olympics, controversially losing the light middleweight contest against Park Si-hun from South Korea in one of the clearest examples of boxing scoring corruption.

As a professional, the American won 66 of his 75 bouts.

He holds dual citizenship between the US and Russia.

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