Aotearoa NZ and New Sweden: IBA ‘Creates’ New National Federations to Offset Membership Losses

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New Sweden Boxing Federation's General Secretary Robert Nordman (1st from right) is a teacher at the New Sweden Academy (Photo: Robert Nordman)

The International Boxing Association (IBA) claims it has ‘expanded into Oceania’ by granting provisional membership to the self-styled Aotearoa New Zealand International Boxing Association. Three weeks ago, it similarly granted provisional membership to the New Sweden Boxing Federation.

These two ‘national federations’ appear to be hastily set up with little history in managing boxing in their countries. The Aotearoa New Zealand International Boxing Association has no presence on the internet and it is not clear whether Aotearoa New Zealand is actually a registered sports association in New Zealand.

IBA has announced Aotearoa New Zealand’s president as Doug Viney. He is a former kick boxer and mixed martial arts fighter. Viney had participated in the Athens Olympic Games as a boxer, but fought only one professional boxing match in 2005 and none since. His current occupation is listed as ‘personal trainer’.

In comparison, Boxing New Zealand, the official boxing federation of the country, was established in 1902.

Let’s now look at the second provisional member added by IBA: the New Sweden Boxing Federation. Its president is reportedly Simon Vis, with Andija Martic, Robert Nordman and Leif Nordman the remaining members of the leadership.

Here too, there is little internet history: the federation’s website went up after IBA’s announcement and its Facebook page has 14 likes.

It turns out that New Sweden is actually based on a gym in Styrsö called New Sweden Boxing Academy. The federation’s General Secretary Robert Nordman is listed there a gym teacher. This academy has inexplicably been elevated to a ‘national federation’ by IBA.

In comparison, the Swedish Boxing Federation, the official federation of the country, represents Swedish boxers at the European and world levels.

The embattled IBA appears to be under pressure to add ‘national federations’ – however lacking in credibility they may be – to offset its membership losses in the past year. Over 27 national federations have left IBA and moved over to its rival, World Boxing, following the latter’s creation in 2023 – including New Zealand and Sweden.

National federations have realised that with IBA having burnt its bridges with the Olympic Games, there was no point staying on in that federation. World Boxing, on the other hand, is engaging with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to keep boxing at the LA Games in 2028 and beyond.

With World Boxing gaining national federations at the expense of IBA, IBA’s claim of representing boxers across the world is now under threat.

IBA’s Russian president Umar Kremlev has probably decided that his federation should admit provisional members from the countries that have left, so he can claim that IBA is still adding to its membership when it is actually falling.

We can probably expect to see more alternate ‘national federations’ pop up in countries like USA, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and others, and then promptly ushered into IBA as ‘provisional members’.

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