A group protesting about the decision to exclude boxing from the Olympic programme at Los Angeles 2028 gathered outside Olympic House in Lausanne ©ITG
Former world champion Roy Jones Jr has led a group of protestors bearing “no boxing without IBA” and “no Olympics without boxing” tee-shirts and banners to coincide with the start of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board meeting here today.
Roughly 40 athletes and coaches from countries including Switzerland, France and Poland were initially present, and this swelled to around 80 later in the morning.
Jones Jr, an Olympic silver medallist at Seoul 1988 after losing a highly controversial light middleweight final to South Korea’s Park Si-Hun, then arrived in a vehicle with identical branding to that of the protestors’ tee-shirts, and entered Olympic House to discuss boxing’s future at the Games with IOC officials.
He was joined by Gabriele Martelli, an Italian who is head coach of Malta’s Olympic boxing team.
Jones Jr claimed to be representing athletes and Martelli coaches in making the case for boxing’s inclusion at Los Angeles 2028.
The protestors want the IOC to readmit boxing, governed by the International Boxing Association (IBA), to be readmitted for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
The IOC Executive Board is expected to discuss the status of the IBA at its final meeting of the year.
The IBA, then known as AIBA, was stripped of its IOC recognition in June 2019.
Ongoing governance concerns under IBA President Umar Kremlev, who first took office in December 2020, mean boxing faces a battle to save its place at the Olympic Games after Paris 2024.
The IBA has already been stripped of any involvement at the upcoming Games in the French capital.
Its “financial dependency” on Russian state-owned Gazprom and an “increased” role of the Presidential office in Moscow are among the IOC’s concerns.
The IOC declared itself “extremely concerned” at an IBA Extraordinary Congress held in Yerevan in September, where Russian official Kremlev retained his position as President after delegates voted against staging a fresh election, despite the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling that Dutch official Boris van der Vorst should not have been prevented from standing in Istanbul in May.
Jones Jr, a close associate of Kremlev and who was awarded a Russian passport by President Vladimir Putin in 2015, told insidethegames that he is “more confident” of boxing’s prospects after his discussions with the IOC.
Frederick Marfo is a sportswriter and social worker well known for his advocacy for equal chances and rights for all athletes, especially those with disabilities.