Today, on 22 June 2023, the IOC has made a tremendous error by withdrawing its recognition of the IBA, revealing its true politicized nature. It is noteworthy that on this very day, 82 years ago, fascist Germany launched an attack on the peaceful citizens of the Soviet Union, resulting in the escalation of war and a devastating human tragedy. We cannot conceal the fact that today’s decision is catastrophic for global boxing and blatantly contradicts the IOC’s claims of acting in the best interests of boxing and athletes.
Currently, the International Boxing Association (IBA) stands as one of the top international sports federations, offering extensive support to athletes, coaches, National Federations, and Continental Confederations. We have successfully implemented all recommendations outlined by the IOC in its roadmap, with the assistance of independent experts. Specifically, we have resolved the accumulated debts from the previous management, enhanced the sporting integrity by improving judging and refereeing, renewed the Board of Directors, attracted experienced professionals from various continents, and successfully rebranded AIBA into IBA.
Furthermore, we have expanded the weight categories for women from 10 to 12 and for men from 10 to 13. This change has provided both large and small countries with increased opportunities to compete, as reflected in the more extensive medal standings. It is worth noting that our Championships medals are made of pure gold, truly matching the name of the precious metal. Additionally, the prize money for boxers has been consistently growing, with the prize money pool increasing from $2.6 million to $10.4 million since 2021. Through the IBA Financial Support Program, we have assisted over 100 countries in developing boxing, allocating over $10 million for this purpose. We would also like to acknowledge the high and professional level exhibited in organization of IBA tournaments, which have become the largest in the boxing world, as evident from the continually growing number of spectators.
To address past issues within the Association, the IBA Board of Directors appointed Professor Richard McLaren and his team to conduct a thorough investigation. We extend our gratitude to Professor McLaren for his hard work, honesty, and transparency. Although we have provided the IOC with all investigation reports, the IOC has failed to recognize the destructive actions of C.K. Wu, who led the International Boxing Association to bankruptcy, collapse, and corruption at all levels.
Therefore, on behalf of the IBA and the boxing community, we raise a series of demands and questions to Mr. Thomas Bach, the leadership, and members of the IOC. It is expected to receive within the next 10 days public answers to the following points:
- Why has the IOC not evaluated the actions of C.K. Wu and acknowledged his responsibility for corruption in AIBA, considering he was an IOC member and Executive Board member at that time?
- The IOC has not concluded the scandalous investigation related to the public information and sale of medals at the Olympic Games. Instead, they have chosen to suppress this information in the media.
- The IOC has avoided direct communication with the IBA, disregarding the progress we have made and failing to respond to the global changes that have occurred in the past two years. They have concealed all our achievements.
- Athletes participating and succeeding in the Olympic Games do not receive proper rewards, despite the substantial income generated from tournaments and their promotion. We insist that the revenue obtained from advertising, broadcasting, and ticket sales in organizing the boxing tournament at the 2024 Olympics be directed towards improving the well-being of boxers through prize money for athletes and coaches – the practice implemented by the IBA since 2021. Additionally, we believe it is essential to introduce a financial support program for boxers who are unable to participate in the Games, enabling them to proudly represent their countries in Paris 2024. The IBA, in turn, will also allocate the necessary budget to assist boxers in both qualifying tournaments and the Olympics.
- The actions of the IOC, which appear to be driven by political decisions rather than considering the opinion of the sports community, including the boxing community, and, most importantly, the interests of athletes and coaches, contradict the fundamental principles of Olympism enshrined in the Olympic Charter.
Consequently, we urge the IOC to publicly state its position on the aforementioned points and adhere to the fundamental principles of “sport outside politics” and “non-interference in the internal affairs of international federations.” It is evident to many that the IOC’s decision is not based on objective facts but on personal animosity and prejudice towards someone’s nationality. Such a stance categorically contradicts the Olympic Charter and the principles of non-discrimination.
We vehemently oppose any form of discrimination and have repeatedly demonstrated, through our actions rather than mere words, that boxing for us is not a means of earning money and enriching ourselves at the expense of athletes, as it was under the previous leadership. On the contrary, boxing is a social movement in which we invest our time, resources, and efforts without receiving monetary rewards in the form of salaries. We firmly believe that our primary responsibility as sports officials is to create favorable conditions for athletes, coaches, and National Federations. We are prepared to do everything in our power to prevent decisions that undermine one of the most spectacular sports, which also happens to be one of the founding disciplines of the Olympic Movement.
Any adverse decision taken against the IBA will negatively impact the Olympic Movement and cast doubt on the values of democracy, fairness, and transparency that the Olympic Movement has upheld for centuries. Despite the challenges, the IBA remains committed to the development of boxing, the preservation of its independence, and the organization of official tournaments and World Boxing Championships at the highest level. We possess the legal right to do so, and we are prepared to defend it before any appropriate authority. Finally, we emphasize that we are fully open to dialogue and collaboration for the betterment of sports, athletes, coaches, and National Federations.