USA Boxing supports International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach’s Comments 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 3, 2024) – On March 27, 2024, IOC President Thomas Bach addressed representatives of the 17 National Olympic Committees (NOC) from across the Oceania region at the ONOC Annual General Assembly in Fiji. During his presentation, President Bach highlighted the need for global sport leaders to not only apply good governance at the continental or NOC level, but at the National Federation (NF) level as well. He identified the requirement of NOC and continental leaders to monitor the governance of National Federations and noted that governance failures of National Federations will inevitably impact NOCs and continental associations.

“We are always judged by our weakest links. Nobody is…paying attention if everything is going well, but if something is going wrong in one of our member organizations, that affects us all and the general public does not make a difference between a National Member Federation…an organizing committee of any sport event, an NOC, or a continental association or other International Federations or the IOC…”

President Bach proceeded to identify the sport of Olympic-style boxing and the International Boxing Association (IBA) as a concrete example of this. He mentioned the “…long, long list of failures over so many years in their governance…” when referring to the IOC’s withdrawing of IBA’s Olympic recognition in June 2023, and stated that the status of Olympic-style boxing in Los Angeles for 2028 and Brisbane for 2032 are still at risk. While IOC leadership has maintained the stance that they want boxing to be included in the Olympic Program due to its global nature and impact on underprivileged people across all nations, President Bach reiterated the IOC’s stated position that boxing’s continued inclusion on the Olympic Program requires an International Federation (IF) rooted in strong governance.

“To be very blunt, every National Boxing Federation and every NOC who wants to see their boxers in the Olympic tournament…will not be able to do so with this International Federation of which we have withdrawn the recognition [IBA]. If we do not have, in the near future, a reliable and representative International Federation at our side, then it will not be possible to have boxing on the program in LA.”

USA Boxing was the first National Federation to leave IBA in April of 2023 after its 77-year relationship as a charter member, and was the first to submit a completed application for membership to World Boxing. USA Boxing membership and the mission of World Boxing have been supported by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) every step of the way as the Olympic boxing crisis persisted. As a Founding Member of World Boxing, USA Boxing worked to ensure that the robust statutes were rooted in strong governance principles. Our support for World Boxing’s mission is not solely driven by the threat of boxing’s exclusion from the Olympic Program, but primarily by the unwavering belief that our boxers deserve an International Federation that operates according to strong governance, financial transparency, and fairness in the field of play. We are committed to working with World Boxing leaders to ensure that the organization upholds these principles and recognizes that being part of the Olympic Movement is a privilege rather than a right.

President Bach and IOC leadership cannot be any clearer—IBA’s failures in governance are not isolated to the boxing community. These failures impact sports representatives throughout the world, including but not limited to leaders of NOCs, other NFs and IFs, brand representatives, and the IOC itself. Continued support for an organization possessing such a track record of governance failures is inexcusable and fails our athletes.

We call on leaders of not just boxing National Federation leaders, but leaders of NOCs and other International Federations to stand up for our athletes by supporting boxing’s new International Federation and working together to ensure adherence to best-in-class governance principles.

Always in the fight…never quit.

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