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New international sports federation established to secure the future of boxing as an Olympic sport

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND, 13 April 2023 – A collection of Boxing leaders from National Federations across the world have created a new, not-for-profit, international federation, World Boxing, which aims to ensure that boxing remains at the heart of the Olympic movement.

World Boxing has been established in response to the persistent issues surrounding Olympic-style boxing’s existing international governing body, whose failure to address the IOC’s longstanding concerns over sporting integrity, governance, transparency and financial management has placed boxing’s future as an Olympic sport in doubt.

World Boxing will seek recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and plans to work constructively and collaboratively to develop a pathway that will preserve boxing’s ongoing place on the Olympic competition programme.

World Boxing will put boxers’ interests at the centre of decision-making and its ways of working will be underpinned by rigorous governance practices designed to create a sustainable and inclusive global sporting structure where boxers from around the world can compete knowing that the integrity of the sport is guaranteed and competition is fair.

As part of its launch announcement World Boxing, made five pledges detailing its priorities for the sport, its commitment to boxers and its aims as an organisation. The five pledges are:

· World Boxing will keep boxing at the heart of the Olympic movement

· World Boxing will ensure the interests of boxers are put first

· World Boxing will deliver sporting integrity and fair competitions

· World Boxing will create a competition structure designed in the best interests of the boxers

· World Boxing will operate according to the strongest governance standards and transparent financial management

World Boxing will ensure the views of athletes are represented at the highest level of decision-making and have a male and female boxer (with voting rights) on its Executive Board which will be elected by members at the organisation’s inaugural Congress in November 2023.

In the period between the launch of World Boxing and the inaugural Congress it will be led by an interim Executive Board made-up of representatives from boxing organisations in Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sweden and the USA. It will be overseen on a day-to-day basis by Interim Secretary General, Simon Toulson, who has extensive experience in international sport having previously led the International Canoe Federation (ICF) and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

The two Athlete Representatives on World Boxing’s Interim Executive Board are Tokyo 2020, middleweight gold medallist, Lauren Price from Wales and the USA’s super-heavyweight silver medallist, Richard Torrez Jr.

To ensure that boxers have a strong voice in shaping the work of World Boxing, the two athlete representatives on the Executive Board will be supplemented by an Athletes Committee, made up of three men and three women, that will be responsible for representing the views of boxers worldwide and providing advice, guidance and opinions to World Boxing.

Lauren Price said: “From being eight-years-old it was my ambition to go to the Olympic Games and once I took up boxing, everything I did was focused on working towards that goal. To finally achieve it and then win a medal has been the highlight of my career and even though I am now a professional, I do not think anything will ever match what I did at the Olympics.

“Going to the Olympics is life changing and I cannot imagine a Games without boxing. It provides a massive platform for the sport and for the boxers. Without it, the boxers will suffer and the sport will be damaged so something has to be done to make sure boxing continues to be part of the Olympic Games.”

Richard Torrez Jr added: “Winning a medal for my country at Tokyo 2020 was the best moment of my career. To take that opportunity away from the next generation of boxers would be devastating for them as athletes and disastrous for the sport. It is absolutely vital that boxing remains part of the Olympic Games and I am going to do everything I can to make sure that happens.”

World Boxing will be led by an Executive Board and a President who will be elected by members at the organisation’s inaugural Congress in November 2023. Membership applications are open and many National Federations, across the world, have already indicated their interest in joining World Boxing and running for election.

In the period leading up to the inaugural Congress, World Boxing will be led by an Interim Executive Board made-up of representatives from eight countries across four nationalities. It includes a male and a female Athlete Representatives and an Interim Secretary General, who does not have voting rights.

The current members of the Interim Executive Board are:

· Matthew Holt, Chief Executive, GB Boxing

· Tyson Lee, President, USA Boxing

· Karin Mattsson, Board Member, Swedish Boxing Federation

· Michael Mueller, Secretary General, German Boxing Association

· Karina Picson, Boxing Competition Official, the Philippiines

· Lauren Price, Athlete Representative

· Richard Torrez Jr, Athlete Representative

· Boris van der Vorst, President, Dutch Boxing Federation

· Keith Walker, Chair, Boxing New Zealand

· Simon Toulson, Interim Secretary General (without voting rights)

Matthew Holt, Chief Executive, GB Boxing explained: “It is vital that boxing continues to remain at the heart of the Olympic movement and to achieve this we need to re-establish a relationship of trust between those that the govern the sport and all of its stakeholders. World Boxing aims to deliver this by creating a financially transparent organisation with strong governance structures that delivers sporting integrity and fair competition and acts in the interest of boxers and the sport.”

Tyson Lee, President, USA Boxing, said: “The loss of Olympic status represents an existential threat to boxing that will have a negative impact on the sport at every level from grassroots clubs to the higher ends of professional boxing. World Boxing aims to prevent this. It will create a sporting structure designed to suit the best interests of boxers and ensure they continue to have the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games.”

Boris van der Vorst, President, Dutch Boxing, added: “World Boxing represents a coming together of people whose interest is solely in creating a better future for boxers and ensuring the sport continues to be a major part of the Olympic Games. Honesty and integrity will be central to World Boxing which is underpinned by strong governance procedures and has embedded the principle of independent, third-party oversight into its constitution to ensure it has rigorous, enforceable, governance structures that will drive ethical and transparent decision making.”

World Boxing’s Statutes have been developed following wide-ranging research of best practice in global sporting governance and cover every aspect of World Boxing’s operations including: safeguarding; the health and safety of boxers; refereeing and judging; competition manipulation; election protocols; codes of behaviour and equality and inclusion. World Boxing’s statutes and all its rules and policies are publicly available on its website at www.worldboxing.org.

Central to all of these is the principle of independent, third-party oversight and enforceability which World Boxing will ensure by working with the leading independent provider of sport-specific arbitration and mediation services, Sport Resolutions, to create a third-party ethics and judicial procedure that is completely separate from the organisation and will oversee any potential issues and disputes.

To ensure sporting integrity, World Boxing’s competitions will also be subject to independent, third-party scrutiny with the appointment of external assessors who will oversee and report on all aspects of competition management including refereeing and judging and the appointment and role of officials.

This operating structure reflects the approach taken by the IOC’s Boxing Task Force (BTF) for Tokyo 2020 when Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) was appointed to provide an independent assessment and review of refereeing and judging at the qualification events and the Olympic tournament.

It will make sure that all World Boxing competitions are subject to independent, third-party oversight and deliver fair competition for the boxers where the outcome is determined solely by performance in the ring.

World Boxing is a non-profit international organisation set-up to administer the sports of Olympic-style boxing, Paralympic boxing (otherwise called “Adaptive boxing”) and E-sport boxing. It is a civil association founded for an unlimited period of time having its own legal identity as a non-profit organisation in accordance with Article 60 of the Swiss Civil Code. World Boxing is under the jurisdiction of Switzerland. It has a Swiss bank account and has appointed Swiss auditors.

World Boxing’s website is www.worldboxing.org.