Kremlev Tries to Curry Favour with China to Prop Up IBA

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Kremlev visiting China to drum up support (Photo: IBA)

The Russian president of the embattled International Boxing Association (IBA), Umar Kremlev, has appealed to China to support his organisation’s events by hosting future IBA World Championships in the country.

The IBA is under pressure as it has been excluded from organising boxing at the Olympic Games twice in a row: first at Tokyo 2020 and again in Paris this summer. The IBA even lost its appeal against the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to remove the federation from the Olympic family.

And to make matters worse, a rival organisation World Boxing could become the new boxing federation partner of the IOC.

With few friends left, apart from Russia, Kremlev has been trying to make new ones with his visit to Beijing, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou.

He was met by Jinqiang Zhou, China’s first deputy of the Minister of Sports and a member of the IBA Board of Directors. Their meeting was held at the Beijing Sport University.

As a sop to Kremlev, the Beijing Sport University is expected to make him an Honorary Professor at a ceremony in May.

“China plays a pivotal role in the development of boxing worldwide with its rich traditions and world champions,’ Kremlev declared. 

“We will select a city to organize IBA Champions Night and feature local boxers for a home audience against the best rivals from worldwide. We plan at least two Champions’ Nights in China in the foreseeable future, as well as IBA World Boxing Championships, as these events promise to be organized at the top level,” he added.

Kremlev even promised to set up a Boxing Academy in China, which would train athletes, coaches and sports officials. He claimed he would soon sign an agreement with Beijing Sport University to build the academy.

‘China has all the conditions for creating a Boxing Academy and raising new talents locally and internationally. It should be a world academy with all the facilities for boxing, an international center. We will pay a visit in May to sign an agreement for it to be built,’ Kremlev claimed.

Yet, concerns remain over the IBA’s governance, transparency and financial stability. China is likely to conduct its own due diligence over the IBA’s proposals, in light of the organisation’s limited international relevance.

With the IBA no longer having any connection to the Olympics, it is hard to see why China would commit to hosting the IBA’s boxing events merely to boost (Prof.) Kremlev’s vanity.

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