Russian Umar Kremlev will remain president of the International Boxing Association (IBA) after its extraordinary congress on Sunday voted by a significant majority against holding a new election, leaving the sport’s Olympic future uncertain.
Dutch candidate Boris van der Vorst’s hopes of challenging Kremlev for the presidency ended after 106 delegates voted against a re-run of the election, with 36 in favour and four abstaining.
Kremlev was elected unopposed in May after Van der Vorst was declared ineligible. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled in June that Van der Vorst was wrongly prevented from standing.
Sunday’s decision cast new doubt over boxing’s efforts to preserve its Olympic spot beyond 2024, following a series of warnings from the International Olympic Committee over IBA’s governance.
“We have to get to the point where boxing will be part of the Olympic Games in 2024 as well as 2028. We will do our best,” Kremlev said, via an interpreter. “No one can exclude us from anywhere.”
IBA, amateur boxing’s world governing body, was stripped of involvement in last year’s Tokyo Olympics due to governance, finance, refereeing and ethical issues.
Boxing is not on the initial programme for the Los Angeles Games in 2028. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is managing the Paris 2024 competition.
IOC sports director Kit McConnell said this month that slow-moving reforms and the IBA’s financial dependence on Russian energy firm Gazprom, its biggest sponsor, were of grave concern.
The IBA suspended the Ukrainian federation on Friday, leaving it unable to cast a vote. The federation had written to IBA members on Thursday calling for Kremlev to resign or be voted out of office.
The IBA does not recognise Kyrylo Shevchenko as president of the Ukrainian federation but instead considers Volodymyr Prodyvus, an ally of Kremlev who left Ukraine after the Russian invasion in February and is now an IBA vice-president, as head.
The extraordinary congress in Yerevan, Armenia was delayed for an hour due to a power failure. The number of national federations present increased from 127 to 151 after proceedings resumed, with 99 attending in person and 52 online.
IBA secretary general George Yerolimpos brushed aside queries about the increase in voters, saying there were a number of late arrivals.