Ukraine Boxing President challenges IBA suspension

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The disputed head of the Ukrainian Boxing Federation (UBF) has questioned on what basis was the national governing body suspended by the International Boxing Association (IBA), while its President Umar Kremlev today vowed to let Russians participate under the country’s flag and anthem soon.

Kyrylo Shevchenko, whom Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice has listed as someone with the right to execute the governing body’s legal acts, has written to all National Federations urging them to not support the IBA decision to suspend the country’s boxing governing body.

IBA suspended UBF citing Government interference and appointed Volodymyr Prodyvus to serve as a coordinator of the National Federation’s affiliated athletes two days before the IBA Extraordinary Congress in Yerevan last week.

“This is appalling and unacceptable!” Shevchenko wrote in the letter to all National Federations.

“How can Prodyvus coordinate Ukrainian boxers when he has fled Ukraine seven months ago?”

Shevchenko claimed that the suspension is against Chapter 13.1 and 13.2 of the IBA Constitution, and claimed they were not given a chance to be heard.

“According to article 13.3 of the IBA Constitution, UBF ‘suspension shall be referred to the meeting of the Congress nest following that suspension for consideration of the Congress at that meeting,” the letter continued.

“Therefore, I call again on all national Federations to show solidarity with the Ukrainian Boxing Family and vote NOT to accept this suspension.”

Shevchenko also urged National Federations to demand “legal proof” of those who represented UBF in Yerevan.

His letter was shared on Twitter by Vitali Klitschko, the former world heavyweight champion, who is now the Mayor Kyiv. 

The IBA has maintained that the suspension of Ukraine was made in compliance with the governing body’s Constitution.

The row pre-dates Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. 

“According to the decision of the Board of Directors of 23 September, 2022 made in compliance with the IBA Constitution and Regulations, the membership of the Ukrainian Boxing Federation has been suspended,” an IBA representative said.

“Based on IBA Constitution, the suspension means that a National Federation shall lapse its rights during a period of suspension.”

Meanwhile, Kremlev has sparked more controversy today with his comments at the “Russia – a sports power” forum in Kemerovo.

According to Russia’s official state news agency TASS, the IBA President is looking for ways to let Russian boxers compete under the country’s anthem and flag and said that the nation is a “sports power”.

“As the President of the International Boxing Association, I want to say that managers should not deprive either the anthem or the flag, but should call for world peace,” he reportedly said.

“And today I would urge my colleagues to stop sabotaging, and join and help athletes participate in all international competitions and not to deprive them of either the anthem or the flag, this is the most important thing for an athlete.

“They are not coming for the sake of medals, but to represent their country, their people.

“Given that we have had a Congress, we have a new Board of Directors, I’m sure they will make the right decision.

“We have an appeal from the European Confederation, they call for the admission of athletes, and I also call for this.

This is not going to go down well after reports emerged from the ongoing European Junior Championship in Montesilvano that Ukrainian boxers were asked to fight under a neutral flag, leading to a boycott from the Ukrainians.

England Boxing had claimed on Twitter that their boxers Josh Jarvis and Nathan Barrett were given byes to the quarter-finals following the withdrawal of the Ukrainians.

The European Boxing Confederation (EUBC) refused to confirm the development but has not heard back yet.

IBA has claimed that, despite the suspension, they had advised EUBC to allow Ukrainians to use “the national symbols” of their country.

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