Van der Vorst is president of the Dutch Boxing Federation (Photo: Facebook)
The International Boxing Association (IBA) has announced that Boris van der Vorst will challenge incumbent Umar Kremlev in its presidential election next month.
Kremlev had won the election for the boxing federation (then called AIBA) in December 2020, the last time the two rivals competed.
Kremlev claimed at the time that he would wipe out the organisation’s financial debts and restore its place as an Olympic governing body. AIBA was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in July 2019, due to concerns over refereeing, judging and governance, and stripped of organising boxing at Tokyo 2020.
Yet under Kremlev, doubts remain over boxing’s place at the Olympics. The sport has been left off the initial programme for Los Angeles Games in 2028, and IBA faces a deadline of 2023 to meet the criteria of the IOC in order to be considered for Paris 2024.
Kremlev has claimed that the IOC’s recent approval of IBA’s proposed qualification system for Paris 2024 shows that the IBA has “built trust and confidence with the IOC”. However, the IOC is still concerned that the majority of the Olympic quota places are to be distributed through a ranking system that has yet to be detailed.
The IOC has also given IBA a May 2 deadline to provide updated documentation detailing new processes with regard to referees and judges.
Van der Vorst is president of the Dutch Boxing Federation and his candidacy is expected to generate momentum in the three weeks to the election.
He has been approved as a candidate for the European Boxing Confederation’s (EUBC) election on April 30 to replace Franco Falcinelli, whose 10-year reign as EUBC chief ends this month.
Van der Vorst will see the EUBC election as a stepping-stone for the IBA election next month.
The IBA Congress is scheduled to be held on May 13 and 14 in Istanbul where the next IBA president will be elected.
The two candidates offer two very different futures for IBA.
Kremlev will continue his controversial sponsorship arrangement with Gazprom that could lead to an uncertain future for boxing at the Olympics.
Van der Vorst offers a clear break from the past, an end to Russian sponsorship money, and a closer relationship with the IOC that could result in IBA returning to the Olympics in time to organise boxing at Paris 2024.
The 203 national federations that make up IBA will soon get to decide which of these two futures they want for IBA.