— Published 9 February 2023

The Americans draw a line under the Worlds

New clouds in sight for amateur boxing. The Washington Post reports that the American federation (USA Boxing) has decided not to send any athletes to the world championships scheduled for this year. The national federation is citing “continued failures” by the International Boxing Federation (IBA, formerly AIBA) as the reason for its decision. In a letter to its members, USA Boxing executive director Mike McAtee lists the factors that led to the decision to abandon the men’s and women’s World Championships in 2023, including the IBA’s governance problems, its financial irregularities, and the presence of Russian and Belarusian boxers at the upcoming World Championships under their own colors and flags. “Although the sport is supposed to be politically neutral, many boxers, coaches, and other representatives of the Ukrainian boxing community have been killed as a result of Russian aggression, including coach Mykhaylo Korenovsky, who was the victim of a Russian missile that hit an apartment building in January 2023, writes USA Boxing. Sports facilities in Ukraine were devastated by the Russian strikes, including many boxing gyms.” But Mike McAtee makes it clear: the expected presence of Russian and Belarusian boxers at the 2023 Worlds is only one of the factors that led to the American decision to boycott the competitions. The United States would have been absent even with the participation of athletes from both countries under a neutral banner. The women’s world championships are scheduled to be held next month in India. The men’s world championships are scheduled for May in Uzbekistan. The two competitions will not count for the qualification to the Games of Paris 2024, the qualifying process being now managed by the IOC.