The future of boxing at the Olympic Games, after Paris 2024, could well be decided in the coming months. Barring a reversal of fortunes, it is likely to be closely linked to the first steps in the sporting movement of World Boxing, the discipline’s new international body.
Created last April by a handful of dissident leaders of the IBA, World Boxing is still evolving on a provisional basis. Its governance – an executive committee of around ten members – is still temporary. But things are set to change rapidly.
In a letter to national boxing federations, the body based in Renens, a commune in the Swiss canton of Vaud, has very officially launched a call for candidates for the positions of president, vice-president (three seats), and member of the executive committee (four seats), plus a handful of other positions in future commissions on the organization chart. Deadline for applications: Friday August 25.
The elections, the first since the creation of World Boxing, will take place at the body’s congress. This is scheduled for November 2023, at a venue yet to be determined.
World Boxing intends to apply the rule of parity. In its letter, it insists on the need to have both sexes represented at the highest level of its governance.
The profile of the candidates, their background and their integrity, will be analyzed by an independent firm before the publication of a definitive list, at the latest 30 days before the congress.
A detail that is anything but anecdotal: in order to be selected, candidates must be supported by their national federation, which must be a member of World Boxing, or at least an associate member, at the time of the congress.
To date, boxing’s new governing body is still struggling to broaden its base. Three countries – the USA, Switzerland and New Zealand – have officially left the IBA to join World Boxing. A handful of others, including Great Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands, are expected to join soon.
For the others, nothing has yet been decided. But the call for candidates launched by World Boxing could accelerate the pace, prompting the most motivated to convene a general meeting to approve their departure from the IBA and join World Boxing.
Question: who will occupy the brand-new World Boxing president’s seat next November? Candidates have yet to make themselves known. But at least two names are circulating: Dutchman Boris van der Vorst, who was ousted by Russian Umar Kremlev in the last election for IBA president, and American Tyson Lee, current president of USA Boxing. Both men are members of World Boxing’s provisional executive committee.
The stakes are high. Once elected, the president and his entourage will have to knock on the IOC’s door to try and open a dialogue with the Olympic body. Secondly, they will have to obtain the IBA’s recognition, which was withdrawn last June. And finally, in the final stage of a course already mapped out with precise gestures, they must succeed in guaranteeing the future of boxing at the Olympic Games. World Boxing’s raison d’être.