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Former Champion Klitschko Criticises WBA-IBA Pact: “Boxing Needs One Big Clean-up”

Former world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko has criticised the recent agreement between the International Boxing Association (IBA) and the World Boxing Association (WBA).

“Boxing needs more transparency, not more greed. The collaboration between WBA and IBA is a stain on the coat of the noble art,” Klitschko said on Twitter.

“It is no coincidence that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) persists in excluding boxing from the 2028 Olympic Games. Boxing needs one big clean-up,” he added.

The embattled IBA, led by Russian Umar Kremlev, signed a working agreement with WBA President Gilberto Jesús Mendoza on November 28.

Their agreement seeks to integrate amateur and professional boxing for the development of the sport, though it overlooks the growing challenges faced by IBA.

Mendoza, whose One Boxing project has been key as WBA president, claimed the agreement was a win-win for both sports bodies. 

“Being able to bring the most important entity of professional boxing closer to the most outstanding of amateur boxing is a huge step towards achieving our goals and integrating this great sport,” Mendoza said in Mexico City.

“This agreement with IBA is something that will bring many benefits to boxing. I have always had the slogan that Boxing is One and being able to bring the most important entity of professional boxing closer to the most outstanding of amateur boxing is a huge step towards achieving our goals and integrating this great sport,” he added.

IBA President Kremlev (left) signed the agreement with WBA President Mendoza (right) on November 28 (Photo: IBA)

The WBA president has followed Kremlev in removing the ban on Russian and Belarusian boxers, despite the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

“The athletes from this country are not soldiers or part of the Government. Therefore, they have nothing to do with the war against Ukraine. However, it was determined that any fighter who speaks out in favour of the war or is involved in it will be removed immediately,” Mendoza said.

Klitschko criticised the WBA decision to reinstate Russian and Belarusian boxers to their official rankings while the invasion of his country Ukraine continues.

“The decision to reinstate Russian and Belarusian boxers is an indelible moral fault,” he said.

Klitschko, a former WBA champion, signed up with the Kyiv Territorial Defence Brigade shortly after the Russian invasion began in February.

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