In bitter fight for future of Olympic boxing, India sides with the IOC over isolated IBA

GENEVA (AP) — In a fight for the loyalty of national boxing federations, India opted Friday to join the IOC’s side in its ongoing dispute with the sport’s global governing body.

The International Olympic Committee has cut ties with the International Boxing Association but the years-long dispute between them was ramped up this week, leading to threats of excluding fighters from certain countries from the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

The Russian-led boxing body, which has been financially backed by state energy firm Gazprom, promised to hand out $3.1 million in prize money to fighters and their teams at the Paris Games this summer, even though it is not involved in organizing the tournament. The IOC has cut the IBA out of Olympic organizing duties for the second straight Summer Games.

The IOC quickly responded Wednesday by giving national boxing federations an ultimatum — saying that countries who stay loyal to the IBA will see their boxers barred from the L.A. Olympics in 2028.

The IBA has said that tactic is “an absolute travesty and disgrace from allegedly one of the leading sports organizations in the world.”

The boxing federation of India — the country which wants to host the 2036 Olympics — made its choice Friday.

World Boxing, the Switzerland-based rival to the IBA, said in a statement that India had agreed to become a member of "the international federation established to ensure boxing remains at the heart of the Olympic movement.

India’s boxing president Ajay Singh said the federation he leads wants to be “at the forefront of the formation and hosting of a new Asian confederation,” and help recruit others to join World Boxing.

India split from the IBA just 14 months after hosting its women’s world championships in New Delhi.

The IBA paid women gold medalists in India $100,000 in prize money, $50,000 to silver medalists and $25,000 for bronze medalists. It has promised to pay gold medalists in Paris $50,000 each.

Paying its athletes is a key part of the IBA’s strategy to support fighters who get no prize money directly from the IOC.

The IOC has for years cited its concerns about the boxing body’s governance, reliance on Gazprom, and the integrity of judges and bouts at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Those games were organized when the governing body was led by a longtime IOC member, C. K. Wu.

The IOC stripped the IBA of recognition last year, and in April set a deadline of “early 2025” to establish a new international body that will keep boxing on the Los Angeles program.

IOC officials have met with World Boxing leaders about being that organizer of the Olympic competition and qualifiers.


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