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IBA lifts ban on Russian, Belarusian boxers

The International Boxing Association has lifted its ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes.

Boxers from the two nations were banned from competition in March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The governing body’s president is Russian, Umar Kremlev and it counts Russian state-backed energy giant Gazprom among its chief sponsors.

In a statement, it said it “strongly believes that politics shouldn’t have any influence on sports”.

Adding it remained “politically neutral and independent”, the IBA which was formerly known as the AIBA added: “IBA calls for peace and remains a peacemaker in any conflicts. Moreover, the IBA has obligation to ensure equal treatment towards the athletes and competition officials, regardless of their nationality and residence”.

“According to the decision, the technical officials of Russia and Belarus will also be back in the competitions.”

Last Friday, the IBA suspended the Ukrainian boxing federation after it had written to IBA members calling for Kremlev to resign or be voted out of office.

2 days later, IBA delegates voted to reject a proposal to hold new presidential elections, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) saying it was “extremely concerned” by the result.

The IBA was stripped of involvement in last year’s Tokyo Olympics because of governance, finance, refereeing, and ethical issues, while it will also not be involved in the running of qualification events or competitions at the Paris 2024 Games.

Boxing was left off the initial list of sports for the 2028 Olympic Games.

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas; Editing by Muzha Kucha