The International Boxing Federation (IBA), led by Russian Umar Kremlev, has lifted a ban on amateur boxers from Russia and Belarus competing in international competitions. The IBA said the board is now allowing them to compete with national flags and anthems. Athletes, referees and judges from both countries were barred from IBA international competitions last March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
This decision comes in a very specific context within the International Federation. Only a few days ago, Umar Kremlev, close to Vladimir Putin, was indeed kept at the head of the IBA, a body mainly sponsored by Gazprom. In the aftermath, the IBA Congress decided to suspend the Ukrainian Federation (FBU) under the pretext of “political interference”. Measures that compromise any chance that boxing will remain on the program of the Olympic Games after 2024.