By John Ensor • 30 August 2023 • 16:29
Finnish Boxer: Emma Jokiaho.
In an effort to improve its Olympic chances and distance itself from Russia, Finland has taken the decision to ditch the International Boxing Association (IBA) for new a boxing federation.
On Tuesday, the Finnish Boxing Association announced its departure from the IBA and its intention to join the newly-formed World Boxing Federation, writes YLE.
According to Marko Laine, the Executive Director of the Finnish Boxing Union, the decision was made due to the IBA’s strong ties with Russia. Umar Kremlev of Russia will continue to serve as the IBA’s president.
The World Boxing Federation, established this year, currently boasts 12 member federations from countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany.
The IBA has faced boycotts for allowing Russians and Belarusians to participate under their own country codes. However, Laine assures that the switch will not affect Finland’s Olympic qualifications. ‘The IOC has already suspended the IBA and qualification tournaments for the Olympic Games are events organised by the International Olympic Committee. There should be no Russians or Belarusians involved in these events,’ said Laine.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has already excluded the IBA from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics due to corruption scandals. Moreover, the IOC decided in June that the IBA will not be a part of the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. ‘We want to continue to be involved in the Olympics and we believe that World Boxing will allow us to participate. The Boxing Federation continues to strongly condemn Russia’s war of aggression,’ Laine added.
The decision to switch federations was so significant that the old board called a meeting to decide. A new board was elected, which then formally resigned from the IBA and applied for World Boxing membership.
The next Olympic-style boxing qualifiers will take place in Busto Arizzo, Italy, from February 29 to March 12, 2024, and in Bangkok, Thailand, from May 23 to June 3, 2024. Finland has yet to secure any boxing places for the Paris Olympics.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
When he's not writing for EWN he enjoys gigging in a acoustic duo, looking after their four dogs, four chickens, two cats, and cycling up mountains very slowly.
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