Mendoza: Olympic boxing in troubled waters

Olympic boxing on the verge of a knockout?

That’s because the International Boxing Association (IBA) has not stopped ignoring the enormous supervisory powers of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over all sports under its wings.

For example, the IOC has questioned last week the decision of an IBA congress that overwhelmingly backed the election of Russian Umar Kremlev as IBA president.

This was after the IOC rejected Kremlev’s victory, citing irregularities in the May polls after an opponent, Boris van der Vorst of the Netherlands, was barred from running against Kremlev.

The IOC saw it a travesty of justice after the Court of Arbitration for Sports ruled in June that van der Vorst should have been eligible to run against Kremlev, which the IBA rejected.

It was another affront to the IOC, which already suspended the IBA (then known as the AIBA) in 2019 after years of financial mismanagement and poor organization.

As a result, the IOC ran the boxing event in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last year, where we won one silver medal and two bronze medals in the country’s most fruitful harvest in a single Olympic program.

Plans are afoot for the IOC to handle the boxing tournament in the 2024 Paris Olympics, kicking out the IBA again.

But look at this. Boxing is no longer in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics calendar and, if the IBA doesn’t make amends and continues its belligerence, the IOC decision might become permanent.

That would be a shame since boxing, which was first introduced in the 1904 Olympics, has been in every Olympic edition since 1920.

Kremlev has even aggravated matters by calling on IBA members to become less Olympic-focused.

“I am working for you,” said Kremlev. “No one else should have influence on the organization.”

Surely, his combative stance will drag the IBA down to the pits of misery.

He also suspended the Boxing Federation of Ukraine, citing “government interference” after Ukraine wrote to the IBA members urging for Kremlev, a close friend of Russian President Putin, to be voted out.

Amid the IBA turmoil, it is still heart-warming to know that boxing will remain in the 2024 Paris Games. Let’s pray it extends up to the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.