The Dutch Boxing Federation is led by former IBA Presidential candidate and Umar Kremlev critic Boris van der Vorst ©IBA

Switzerland and Boris van der Vorst's The Netherlands have become the latest nations to join a boycott of the International Boxing Association's (IBA) Women's Boxing World Championships because of the presence of Russian and Belarusian athletes.

Despite International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendations to the contrary because of the war in Ukraine, the IBA - led by Russian official Umar Kremlev - lifted a ban on national symbols and the participation of athletes from both countries in October last year.

USA Boxing was the first national governing body who opted against sending teams to next month's IBA Women's World Boxing Championships in New Delhi and the Men's World Boxing Championships in Tashkent in May because of the presence of Russia and Belarus and wider governance concerns under Kremlev.

Ireland, Czech Republic, Canada and Sweden have since publicly declared their intention to follow suit, as well as Britain from the upcoming Women's World Championships as a minimum.

Dutch Boxing Federation President van der Vorst was wrongly prevented from challenging Kremlev in Istanbul last year before delegates voted against staging a re-run of the Presidential election at an Extraordinary Congress in Yerevan.

Van der Vorst leads the Common Cause Alliance of nations seeking to prioritise the preservation of boxing's place at the Olympics from Los Angeles 2028, which is in doubt because of governance concerns.

However, he had not commented on the boycott movement until today's announcement that the Dutch Boxing Federation Board opted "not to send delegations to IBA events that violate IOC sanctions, including the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in India".

The Dutch Boxing Federation criticised the presence of Russian and Belarusian athletes and national symbols at recent IBA events in Abu Dhabi and Marrakesh, which it said represented "another
example of IBA’s inability or unwillingness to work towards its reinstatement as an Olympic International Sports Federation" and could "jeopardise the position of boxing as an Olympic sport even further".

The IBA's ties with Russian majority-state owned energy giant Gazprom also came under fire, after the renewal of a sponsorship deal prompted a warning from the IOC that boxing could be dropped altogether from Paris 2024, having already been left off the initial programme for Los Angeles 2028.

The IBA has allowed Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete under their countries' flags at its events, despite IOC recommendations to the contrary ©IBA
The IBA has allowed Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete under their countries' flags at its events, despite IOC recommendations to the contrary ©IBA

The Swiss Boxing Federation is a member of the Common Cause Alliance, and its boycott also applies to other events where Russia and Belarus will be present including the European Boxing Confederation Youth Men's and Women's European Boxing Championships in Yerevan in April.

This decision was taken by the Swiss Boxing Federation Council, and President Andreas Anderegg claims it is in line with more than 30 other countries.

Anderegg added on Facebook that the Swiss Boxing Federation was "not aware at the time of registration that athletes from Russia and Belarus" would feature at the IBA World Boxing Tour Golden Belt Series event in Marrakesh earlier this month, and that it would not have taken part otherwise.

"Of course, Switzerland is a neutral country, but neutrality does not mean being blind or not having an opinion - this is also confirmed by the decisions of Switzerland's political leadership," Anderegg wrote.

He insisted: "The unspeakable suffering that Russia has been causing in neighbouring Ukraine for the past year cannot be described in words and should be abhorred with all our might.

"And because it's politics that finances sport, you can't separate one from the other."

Anderegg pointed to statements from the Swiss Olympic Association and the Federal Office of Sport supporting the exclusion of athletes from Russia and Belarus at international sports events, as well as the National Olympic Committee's call for International Federations to go further through the suspension of officials from both countries.

The Swiss Olympic Association welcomed the IOC's move to explore a pathway for the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals - a move which has sparked a furious reaction in Ukraine - but insisted it retains its view that they should not compete internationally.

Switzerland and The Netherlands have vowed to participate in boxing at the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games, which is set to serve as a qualifier for the Paris 2024 Olympics and the IBA has no involvement with.

Relations between the IBA and the IOC have further soured since the controversial re-election of Russian official Umar Kremlev as President last year ©IBA
Relations between the IBA and the IOC have further soured since the controversial re-election of Russian official Umar Kremlev as President last year ©IBA

The IBA - formerly AIBA - has been suspended by the IOC since 2019 because of ongoing governance concerns, and relations have hit an all-time low following Kremlev's controversial re-election.

It has pledged to provide financial assistance for athletes from countries boycotting the World Championships to enable them to participate.

Kremlev has described officials who voted to boycott the World Championships as "worse than hyenas and jackals".

The Dutch Boxing Federation also criticised the IBA's response to the decisions of other National Federations.

"The Dutch Boxing Federation has taken note of similar announcements by fellow National Federations as well as of IBA’s reaction to these announcements," it said.

"We urge the IBA leadership to refrain from aggressive attempts to silence, suppress, and harass National Boxing Federations and its members, including boxers, coaches, and officials, who try to
ensure compliance with the Olympic Charter and IBA’s own Constitution."

The IOC has insisted its sanctions on Russia and Belarus including a ban on national symbols would remain in place even if "protective measures" on athlete participation are lifted.

insidethegames has contacted the IBA for a comment on the latest boycotts.