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USA Boxing withdraws from Russian-led International Boxing Association

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By Matt Foster, CNN

USA Boxing, the national governing body for the sport in the country, terminated its membership of the Russian-led International Boxing Association (IBA) on Wednesday as a result of the organization’s failure to address issues which saw the IBA’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognition suspended in 2019.

USA Boxing, which had been a member of the IBA and its predecessors since 1946, announced it plans to file for membership of World Boxing, a breakaway federation set up in Switzerland earlier this month.

“IBA has failed to follow its stated mission to promote, support and govern the sport of boxing worldwide,” wrote USA Boxing executive director Mark McAtee in a letter to its members.

“(IBA has) disregarded its own Constitution, policies, and published processes; has openly defied the ruling of the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS); and has continuously failed to prioritize the needs of boxers.”

The IOC suspended the IBA in 2019 after a sanctioned report into the IBA’s running of the sport recommended that it be suspended from its right to organize the boxing tournament at the 2020 Olympics because of the “ongoing seriousness of the issues in the areas of finance, governance, ethics, and refereeing and judging.”

As a consequence, an IOC task force ran the qualification for Tokyo 2020 as well as the Games themselves, with the same set to occur at Paris 2024.

CNN reached out to the IOC for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

USA Boxing decided not to send any athletes to compete at the 2023 World Championships, organized by the IBA, for a number of reasons, including the “participation of athletes under sanctioned flags” and “false and exaggerated statements from IBA leadership.”

Russian and Belarusian athletes were permitted to compete under their flags at the women’s world championship in New Delhi in March and will be able to do so at the men’s competition in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in May.

The IBA on Thursday acknowledged in a press release what it called the “resignation” of USA Boxing from the organization, saying the move “hurt all their affiliates who will now not be able to take part in IBA’s or affiliated member competitions” and “deprives the boxing community as a whole from competing together.”

World Boxing, a new international federation, was launched April 13 in what it says is a move to try and protect boxing’s status as an Olympic sport. USA Boxing president Tyson Lee and Great Britain Boxing lead Matthew Holt are both on the interim board of the organization, which says it plans to hold elections for a permanent president and board members in November, according to multiple reports.

The IBA described World Boxing as a “rogue organization” when the latter launched, before filing an official complaint to the Boxing Independent Integrity Unit (BIIU) against those involved in its creation. The BIIU is described on the IBA’s website as the “operationally independent unit in charge of dealing with all ethical and disciplinary issues.”

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