Boxing Joins Other Sports; Places Sanctions Against Russia & Belarus

Russia & Belarus On The Outside Looking In

Four top boxing sanctioning bodies logos and flags from Russia and Belarus.
Four top boxing sanctioning bodies logos and flags from Russia and Belarus.

Boxing Organizations Take Action Against Russia & Belarus

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The world of sport has reacted strongly to the Russian invasion of Ukraine with organizations like FIFA, UEFA, and the IOC making decisions to prevent athletes and teams from Russia and Belarus from participating in international competition. The boxing world has followed suit with all four sanctioning bodies taking action.

The World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Organization (WBO), International Boxing Federation (IBF), and World Boxing Council (WBC) have all been involved in acting in support of Ukraine.

All sanctioning bodies take action regarding fights in Russia and Belarus

The WBA, WBO, IBF, and WBC have all made the decision not to sanction any boxing matches being held in Russia or Belarus.

This decision will remain in place until peace is restored. Ongoing discussions are taking place between the sanctioning bodies to ensure they are informed about the current situation in the conflict and act accordingly.

They are committed to ensuring the protection of human rights and some of the bodies have imposed additional restrictions.

Additional action taken by the IBF

The IBF has gone further than simply refusing to sanction fights in Russia and Belarus. The sanctioning body has made the decision to prevent fighters from Russia and Belarus from competing internationally.

Jeanette Salazar, Public Relations Director for the New Jersey-based IBF, eased some of these fears by confirming “The measures would only apply to boxers currently living in the two countries.” This means that any impact on fans and betting markets will be minimal with promotors and others within the industry marginally affected.

This has caused some concern about the effect on the wider boxing industry. For example, the online NJ betting market which has experienced impressive growth so far may be damaged depending on how far-reaching restrictions become.

At the end of the day, the IBF has decided that human rights come before sports and are more important than any impact on the wider boxing community.

Additional action taken by the WBO

The WBO has made a similar decision as it has also chosen to impose further restrictions on fighters from Russia and Belarus. They will not be able to have their anthem played at bouts, their national flag will be banned, and their country will not be mentioned.

When it comes to officials from Russia and Belarus, they will not be able to work at any international boxing contests.

Finally, the WBO rankings will not include fighters from Russia or Belarus. This is obviously a major blow to the competitors and their countries.

Given the current situation in the conflict, and the fact that it could continue for some time, it’s possible that the remaining sanctioning bodies will also impose further restrictions against competitors from Russia and Belarus.

The WBO, WBA, WBC, and IBF have taken action in line with each other so far, so it seems likely that this will happen and fighters from Russia and Belarus will find themselves more ostracized from international competition.

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