The Russian connections of the International Boxing Association (IBA) are back in the news, with Ukraine’s former national boxing coach Dmitry Sosnovsky criticising his compatriot Volodymyr Prodyvus, the new vice-president of IBA.
Sosnovsky claimed that Prodyvus was a “traitor” to Ukraine for working with IBA President Umar Kremlev, who is Russian and seen as pro-Kremlin.
Following Kremlev’s controversial re-election at the recent IBA Congress in Istanbul, IBA’s Board of Directors nominated Ukraine’s Prodyvus to the post of vice-president.
This was seen as an attempt to deflect the questions raised over a Russian official continuing as IBA president during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But Ukraine’s former national boxing coach Sosnovsky has questioned the legitimacy of Prodyvus to represent Ukraine in the first place.
Sosnovsky claimed that there were “great violations” when Prodyvus was re-elected in December 2021 as president of the Boxing Federation of Ukraine (FBU), a post he has held since 2008.
Prodyvus’ main opponent, Kirill Shevchenko, alleged that Prodyvus’s re-election was illegitimate.
Two-thirds of the 24 regions who elect the FBU president must be present for the election, which means that a minimum of 16 are needed.
However, 11 regions did not participate, according to Kyiv Post. That means only 13 were present, so the election was 3 representatives short of the necessity quorum.
FBU general secretary Ilya Gurovich claimed Prodyvus’ re-election was legitimate.
“We ensured the direct presence at the conference of representatives of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the International Boxing Association, which confirmed compliance with all necessary statutory procedures,” Gurovich told the media last year.
In response, Sosnovsky said Prodyvus was doing “everything to destroy Ukrainian boxing”.
“The fake conference that allegedly elected him the President of the FBU was held with great violations,” Sosnovsky told Sport.ua.
Sosnovsky claimed that Prodyvus lied about bringing his family back to Ukraine during the invasion, and called him a “cynical collaborator” for working with Kremlev, a Russian official.
“A person who cynically says that he is a patriot of Ukraine is cynicism of the highest grade,” noted Sosnovsky.
“And after that, he goes and supports Kremlev – everyone knows what kind of person he is.
“He is a collaborator and a traitor to our Motherland.”
Prodyvus, according to Sport.ua, did not support Kremlev’s re-election at the IBA Congress.
“My vote, that is, the voice of Ukrainian boxing, was not for the election of Umar Kremlev,” said Prodyvus.
“This is the position of the Boxing Federation of Ukraine, publicly announced to the world: we do not support Russians in the sports world while there is a war in Ukraine.
“The presentation of such an award, even a formal one, is accompanied by the same formal handshake in the boxing world, a pat on the shoulder – there is no question of any ‘public fraternisation’.
“I didn’t vote for Umar Kremlev in the IBA Presidential vote, but since the rest of the world community has given him a credit of trust, I will work under the existing conditions,” he added.
Prodyvus is a businessman and former member of parliament for the Party of Regions under Victor Yanukovich, the pro-Russian president of Ukraine who was removed from office in 2014 following popular protests.