The IBA Congress Approves All Proposals While Kremlev Criticizes Thomas Bach, President of the IOC. IBA

Over 600 individuals, including nearly 180 National Boxing Federations, gathered at the IBA's Annual Congress held this Saturday in Dubai. The event commenced with the words of IBA President Umar Kremlev, who expressed gratitude for everyone's presence and highlighted the "unity of the boxing family," which is the essence of the organization.

The president underscored in his opening speech that the primary mission of the collective is "to make athletes the most important, the protagonists of everything, and everything invested should return to them." The IBA is "for everyone and by everyone," added the president.

After briefly explaining the essence and origin of boxing, Kremlev emphasized that one of the IBA's tasks is to guide children from a young age in "the skills and values of boxing." He illustrated this with an example: "Imagine a child going to daycare, school, and university. Boxers also start from the bottom until they grow up and can help their families, and the IBA's role is to accompany and assist them." "We don't want there to be borders, and athletes achieve their goals," he said. The president advocated for "peace in the world and the desire for sports while avoiding conflicts."

His speech continued with the need for anyone who makes mistakes and breaks the rules to have no place in this organization. "Justice is guaranteed here, and respect will be shown to all countries." Kremlev assured that "the IBA will grow and continue to protect athletes."

The president addressed other aspects, such as the athlete's need to represent their country. "It is also important to be able to hear the anthem of their country and see their flag raised; this should never be missing. People who prevent this from happening should not be in sports; those officials must realize that athletes are the protagonists of this story, and without them, none of those officials would be anything."

Over 600 individuals, including nearly 180 National Boxing Federations, gathered at the IBA's Annual Congress held this Saturday in Dubai. IBA
Over 600 individuals, including nearly 180 National Boxing Federations, gathered at the IBA's Annual Congress held this Saturday in Dubai. IBA

Several events were announced for the upcoming year. "In 2024, there will be a World Championship in Kazakhstan with a prize of one million dollars for the winners." Kremlev also announced that "prizes will be increased because it is crucial for athletes to earn money." Kremlev recalled "the effort and sacrifice that athletes make throughout their lives, and they need their lives to change. We know what athletes are seeking and fighting for, and that's why gold medals need to be real, for example, and throughout their lives, they can earn money and live better."

After outlining the basic rules and objectives of the IBA, the president focused on the current situation of the International Olympic Committee. Kremlev expressed his distrust of the IOC's work. "There is a lot of distrust in the work that the IOC does because they are interfering in the work of others. Here, in the IBA, the management is elected by the National Federations. However, why is the Olympic Committee management is not elected by countries?," he explained.

In this regard, the president pointed to the person of the IOC president, Thomas Bach. "Thomas Bach holds a position he doesn't deserve." He asserted that "athletes are treated like slaves; they take away everything they have. All officials want money. All that money belongs to the athletes, and yet, those officials make millions of dollars; they have cheap plane tickets, five-star hotels... Do you know where athletes live? With lice and in terrible conditions."

He recalled that some people tell him that he is "tough and why he criticized so much," but in reality, he added, there is no fear: "I'm not afraid of him." He referred to reports proving the amount of money these officials make, and for Kremlev, "it's a mistake because that money belongs to the athletes, and it should be allocated to them." "He has something against the IBA," he concluded regarding the IOC's attitude in general and Bach's attitude toward the organization in particular.

In his welcome speech, Kremlev, before the Congress's scheduled votes on the agenda items, reminded everyone that in 2017 and before, there were talks of "corruption" and warned that the IBA's desire has always been to "clean it up and continue supporting cleanliness and transparency in boxing together."

After the president's presentation, the voting on various agenda items scheduled for the Congress began. The first was the approval of the minutes of the past Congress held in Abu Dhabi in 2022. The result was 117 votes in favor, one against, and four abstentions.

Umar Kremlev, president of  IBA, during the Congress in Dubai. IBA
Umar Kremlev, president of IBA, during the Congress in Dubai. IBA

Subsequently, Yury Zaytsev, Legal Counsel of the IBA, addressed another agenda item related to admission to the membership of four National Federations that applied to join the IBA. The IBA Board of Directors recommended the Congress to uphold these applications. These federations were USA Boxing, Norfolk Islands, Switzerland, and Tuvalu. The vote was as follows: Norfolk Islands. Result: 125 votes yes, 6 no, and 7 abstentions. Switzerland Federation. Result: 128 votes yes, 5 no, and 6 abstentions. Tuvalu Federation. Result: 129 yes, 4 no, and 9 abstentions. United States Federation. Result: 117 yes, 18 no, and 7 abstentions.

Four Federations are still suspended as IBA members, including the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. St. Vincent and the Grenadines was recommended by the Board of Directors to be suspended until further assessment in March 2024.

Zaytsev explained that the Czech Republic was suspended in April 2023 after organizing an event with athletes and coaches who were outside the organization. They are still suspended because they "still do not comply with the rules." The Czech Republic wrote a letter to the IBA on December 7, not acknowledging that they "made a mistake." They insisted on maintaining a dual membership, in the IBA and in World Boxing, "something that is not allowed, and we only welcome those who want to be in the IBA." The recommendation was for them not to continue in the IBA, but the decision had to be voted on at the Congress. This happened, and the result was: 99 votes yes to exclusion, 22 no, and 21 abstentions.

On the other hand, the Federations of Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden were also suspended by the IBA in April and May 2023. Some of them stated that they want to belong to both organizations, the IBA and the alternative, World Boxing, something that was reiterated as "impossible according to the rules of the IBA itself." The vote was to maintain the exclusion of the German Federation, and the result was 106 votes yes, 22 no, and 15 abstentions. There was also a vote on maintaining the exclusion of the Netherlands Federation with a result of 111 yes, 17 no, and 14 abstentions. Sweden boxing federation resigned IBA before the congress.

Chris Roberts, Secretary-General and CEO, then took the floor and reviewed some recently held tournaments, such as the three world championships in India, Uzbekistan, and Armenia. Also, the 10 Champions Nights (Abu Dhabi (2022), Phuket, Serpukhov, Monaco, Antalya, Paris, Dishabe, Dubai, and the two remaining ones in 2023, Astana and Moscow. Some events for 2024 were also announced, with tournaments in Croatia, Slovenia, Bali, Sochi, Dublin, and Lyon. A Cup will also be held in South Africa and cups on each continent. The goal is for each cup winner to represent their continent in global events. The various courses launched to professionalize those involved in improving boxing and sports structure were also reviewed. More than 1,300 students went through the different courses developed by the organization. Chris Roberts reminded of the levels in the courses and the preparations of professionals to continually improve the preparation of people working in various aspects of the organization.

Direct marketing is another aspect that the IBA wants to strengthen. It was emphasized that the IBA's impact is "massive," and the direction in 2024 and in future years is closely related to fans because the aim is to "increase audiences." Efforts are being made to make information increasingly abundant and reach more countries and people.

The Congress concluded with the approval of the accounts and regulations and criteria for the behavior and operation of the IBA, as well as the relationship that should be established between the different National and Continental Federations and the IBA itself, and the procedures between the different parties.

Then the new edition of the IBA Constitution was approved by the delegates.

Finally, a vote was taken for the entry into the IBA Board of one of the candidates who will join the IBA Board instead of Elise Seignolle who resigned from IBA. The result of the vote was 82 votes for Lourdes Avedaño Rodríguez (Bolivia), compared to the 62 obtained by Luisa Benítez Gómez (Venezuela). The new member of the IBA Board was welcomed."