USA Boxing has ended its membership with the International Boxing Association to join World Boxing, USA Boxing Executive Director Mike McAtee wrote to members of the national governing body this week.
“USA Boxing is committed to work tirelessly with World Boxing, like-minded National Federations and worldwide Olympic-style boxing community to earn the privilege to be part of the Olympic Movement now and in the years to come,” the letter from USA Boxing read, adding “USA Boxing will commit full support to World Boxing’s efforts to seek provisional recognition of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and as an International Federation (IF) for the sport of Olympic–style boxing, Paralympic Boxing (Adaptive) and Esport Boxing.”
A collection of boxing leaders from across the world, including USA Boxing, recently announced the creation of World Boxing, which aims to ensure that boxing remains a part of future Olympic Summer Games and is the formal breakaway for many international federations from the International Boxing Association, which has been in a years-long dispute with the International Olympic Committee.
World Boxing says it will seek recognition from the IOC. In the period between the launch of World Boxing and the inaugural Congress it will be led by an interim Executive Board that includes Tyson Lee, USA Boxing president, plus one of the two athlete representatives on the interim executive board is USA super-heavyweight Tokyo silver medalist Richard Torrez Jr.
The IBA, led by Russian official Umar Kremlev, filed a complaint against individuals and entities involved in the formation of World Boxing to the Boxing Independent Integrity Unit. McAtee is one of five individuals currently being investigated by the BIIU after being accused of “inciting a boycott” after several countries, including the United States, pulled out of the recent world championships.
After years in which the International Boxing Association has been a thorn in its side — it was suspended by the IOC in 2019 — there have been signs the IOC’s resolve has come to an end, which also spurred World Boxing’s formation.
The IBA is run by Umar Kremlev, who has close ties to Russia President Vladimir Putin; since Kremlev’s reign began in 2017, the IBA has essentially been bankrolled by Russian interests. The IOC organized the 2021 Tokyo Games boxing competition and is planning to run the competition for Paris 2024; the sport currently is off the schedule for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.
The IBA’s world championships finished over the weekend and was boycotted by multiple countries, including the United States, after the IBA allowed boxers from Russia and Belarus to compete with their national flags and anthems. The IBA, true to form, said the world championships were the qualifiers for the 2024 Olympics and sent a letter to the IOC saying it had “deep concerns about basic IOC governance, impartiality, and transparency principles” after the IOC’s plan to use IBA technical officials in Paris.