Olympic boxing medalists in Paris promised cash prizes by rogue governing body

GENEVA (AP) — The boxing governing body declared rogue by the International Olympic Committee said Wednesday it will pay $50,000 in prize money to each gold medalist at the Paris Games.

The cash promise is doubly confrontational for the IOC, which severed ties with the International Boxing Association last year and excluded it from any role in organizing the tournaments in Paris.

The IOC also does not approve of governing bodies paying prize money to Olympic medalists.

The IBA said it has a $3.1 million prize money fund for each male and female boxer who reaches the quarterfinals in 13 total weight classes, plus their coaches and national teams.

The coach and national team of each Olympic boxing champion — who will fight for medals at the Roland Garros tennis complex — will both get $25,000, and the scale of payments goes down to $10,000 in total for each quarterfinalist place.

The source of the money was not specified but the IBA led by its Russian president Umar Kremlev has been supported by the country’s state energy firm Gazprom.

“As always with the IBA, it is unclear where the money is coming from,” the IOC said in a statement.

The IBA promised $200,000 for gold medalists at its 2023 world championships and committed to future increases.

“As IBA president, I will always fight for our athletes’ well-being, and this step is consistent in terms of the existing commitments we have already taken,” Kremlev said in a statement.

The Olympic body did not support a pledge in April by World Athletics to pay $50,000 prize money to each of the 48 gold medalists in track and field in Paris. It has promised also to pay silver and bronze medalists in 2028 at the Los Angeles Olympics.

The IOC has de-recognized the IBA, which will not be involved in organizing bouts in Paris for the second straight Summer Games.

The IOC has for years cited its concerns about the boxing body’s governance, reliance on funding from Gazprom, and the integrity of judges and bouts at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Those games were organized when the boxing body was led by a longtime IOC member, C. K. Wu.

The dispute has escalated to the point of the IOC reluctantly throwing more doubt on boxing’s place at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics and warning national teams again Tuesday.

“It is therefore already clear that any boxer whose national federation adheres to the IBA will not be able to participate in the Olympic Games LA28,” the IOC said Tuesday.

Paris medalists are set to rewarded at “a special awards ceremony,” IBA said, after “successful passing of respective anti-doping procedures.”

Prize money to Olympic medalists has traditionally been paid by state governments and national teams though not directly from money sourced to the IOC, which prefers governing bodies invest in developing their sport below the elite level.

World Athletics said its $2.4 million prize fund for champions in Paris would come from its share of the IOC's revenues. Track's $39.5 million payment for the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021 was the largest amount of a $540 million fund allocated by the IOC.

Boxing's share of Olympic revenues from Tokyo was due to be more than $17 million but was held back by the IOC, which had to oversee running the qualifying and finals tournament bouts.

The IBA also will not get money from the IOC's Paris revenues and a rival organization of national federations, called World Boxing, is being established to become the recognized governing body of Olympic boxing.

The IOC last month set a deadline of “early 2025” to establish a new international body that will keep boxing in the Los Angeles program, but the IBA is defiant.

“We are setting a clear example for many,” the IBA's chief executive Chris Roberts said, “on how international federations should be treating their champions.”


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