USA Boxing, Inc.
1 Olympic Plaza · Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909
(719) 866-2300 · FAX: (719) 866-2132 · Website: www.usaboxing.org
September 29, 2022
Editor, Inside the Games
RE: USA Boxing’s response to Inside the Games op-ed dated September 25 2022
Dear Duncan Mackay:
International Sport Federations apply for and seek recognition of the International Olympic Committee; this is a privilege and not a right. However, IBA Leadership has ignored IBA’s mission to be part of the Olympic movement. The “celebration mood” that you describe in your op-ed will quickly fade if IBA’s Olympic recognition is gone and National Federations will lose relevance in their nations. It seems that only then will National Boxing Federations understand that IBA has committed Olympic suicide.
In order to achieve greatness in boxing, athletes must be able to overcome immense mental and physical challenges. Every boxer knows what defeat tastes like. Great boxers always come back stronger. Vasiliy Lomachenko did not have his hand raised in the final bout of the 2007 World Championships against Albert Selimov of Russia, his only defeat in Olympic boxing. Many agree that it was an unfair decision. The next time these boxers met was at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was a first-round match and Lomachenko beat Selimov in outstanding fashion, advancing to win his first Olympic gold. We celebrate our boxers’ character, toughness, and dedication while you mock it. True boxing people would rather be carried out on a stretcher fighting to save the sport than dancing in celebration of an unfair victory. A victory clearly achieved with many violations of the rules.
Boxing has been part of the Olympic Movement since 1904. After the Rio Games of 2016, it is still an Olympic sport not because of IBA but, in spite of IBA.
You seem to revere those who voted to eliminate a fair election, those who disregarded the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), those who openly defied the constitution of IBA, those who adopted various unethical tactics of the past IBA leaders, those who fostered and supported a culture of corruption to manipulate bouts in the field of play for personal illegal and unethical gain.
Your suggestion that the 23 vocal supporters of Umar Kremlev are a representative sample of IBA NFs who want the IOC to work with IBA is simply false. They are a sample of national federations who openly stated they did not care about the Olympic movement. Their concerns were funding and boxing equipment for their individual nations and openly solicited for funding and equipment for their political support. As identified in the Stage 3 McLaren report, “… supply of sports equipment to various countries including the African states…” which is a clear violation of election rules identified in the McLaren Report.
The Olympic Games movement is about the best athletes competing at the highest level. The 23 NFs do not have programs that produce these types of athletes as your opinion suggests.
At the 2020 Tokyo Games the eight National Federations who supported the CAS finding and wanted a fair and transparent Presidential election, produced boxers who collectively won:
- Two(2) Olympic Gold Medalists
• Five (5) Olympic Silver Medalists
• Six (6) Olympic Bronze Medalists
Compared to the 23 National Federations who voted against the fair and transparent Presidential election, who from 1904 to 2020 have collectively produced:
- ZeroOlympic Gold Medalists
• Seven (7) Olympic Silver Medalists
• Eleven (11) Olympic Bronze Medalists
The suggestion of your blog is that IBA and even the IOC should disregard the voices of the NFs like USA, France, the Netherlands, England / Great Britain, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, Honduras and other “mostly western” countries who develop Olympic and World Class caliber athletes and introduce the Olympic movement to thousands of our youth every year. Instead, you suggest the Olympic style boxing community should ignore the violations of IBA regulations and the Olympic Charter, forget all the misinformation of IBA leadership, and embrace the IBA President who has said that Olympic Games are not his priority. How does that correlate with the IBA Mission “… to promote, support and govern the sport of boxing worldwide in accordance with the requirements and spirit of the Olympic Charter…?”
I would like to thank you for your acknowledgement of the rich history of US Olympic-style boxing. Nevertheless, your claim that “…the fact that the 2028 Olympics are taking place in Los Angeles and boxing remains a popular sport in the United States will certainly help Kremlev’s campaign to ensure it remains part of the Games…” is totally unacceptable and false!
USA Boxing has been supported by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and other stakeholders in our effort to seek re-inclusion of boxing in the LA28 Games. However, these efforts are for the sport of Olympic-style boxing and its boxers, coaches and officials and not for a single human being or an organization.
Let there be no doubt that USA Boxing will be the first NF to say boxing has not earned the privilege to be included in the Games, as long as IBA continues with its improper governance practices, incompetence in event and competition management, and is unable to change its leadership culture. USA Boxing will only support and endorse an organization if its priorities are the athletes, fair play, proper governance, ethical leadership, and financial stability. These are absolute prerequisites to lobbying the IOC and the LA28 Organizing Committee to be given the honor and privilege to be re-included into the 2028 Olympic program.
Last but not least, USA Boxing would like to address your outlandish fictional statement that “…Kremlev’s relationship with the US is also friendlier than it appears on the surface, and it is not hard to imagine an unholy secret alliance being formed to make sure boxing is in Los Angeles 2028…,” considering that you have never reached out to USA Boxing for comment in this regard.
USA Boxing fully respects the office of the IBA President and USA Boxing leadership has acknowledged the positive results IBA has achieved since the Presidential election in 2020. Nevertheless, we have also pointed out the numerous false starts and failures that have occurred during his two years in office.
USA Boxing is the most regulated Olympic sport in the United States of America, with oversite from the United States Congress, United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and 50 State Boxing Commissions. Therefore, the only “unholy secret alliance” in boxing is between Inside the Games and Umar Kremlev.
Public documents indicate that Inside the Games has an undisclosed business relationship with Umar Kremlev, which has resulted in the placement of Umar Kremlev’s associates on Inside the Games’ Board of Directors. For instance, Zhanna ABDULIAN, is the former Head of International Relations at the Russian Boxing Federation, and Maksim KOTKOV is the Head of a regional boxing federation in Russia. Over one million dollars has been funneled into Inside the Games financial accounts over the last two years according to the official government registry:
From the public sources, it also appears that Vox Europe Investment Holding LLC, a Hungarian company, is a majority stakeholder of Inside the Games, which is in turn owned by FT-TAKSOPARK, a taxi leasing company registered in Russia. Records indicate FT-TAKSOPARK was owned by Umar Kremlev personally in 2021, when the deal with Inside the Games was concluded. Current business records show that FT-TAKSOPARK’s Directors/Stockholders include Maksim KOTKOV.
To conclude, USA Boxing formally disagrees with your suggestion that the IOC will “have to adequately explain why they refuse to accept a Kremvlev-IBA...” under the current circumstances. The facts speak for themselves, the Kremlev-IBA has disregarded the CAS decision to hold a Presidential election, it has failed to follow its stated Mission, its own Constitution and Regulations, as well as the inability to fulfil the requirements of the Lalovic Report and has sought to suppress the collective voices of National Federations who ask for fair play, transparency, proper governance, and financial responsibility, IBA may soon be going through a very difficult period of realization that being a Member of the Olympic Movement is not a right, BUT an honor and a privilege.
In your corner,