Russia will be allowed to vote at the IBA Extraordinary Congress tomorrow ©IBA

The International Boxing Association (IBA) Board of Directors will allow the Russian Boxing Federation (RBF) to vote in the upcoming Extraordinary Congress here in Istanbul.

It discussed recommendations by the IBA Ethics Committee, before approving Russia's eligibility to participate in the Congress, scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday (May 14).

The Ethics Committee recommended a ban on the basis of the RBF's posting content related to the eighth anniversary of the Russian annexation of Crimea.

RBF deleted this, but did not admit to posting it in the first place, with the Ethics Committee saying "these publications were a risk for IBA's reputation and image".

Neither Russia or Belarus - whose athletes are banned from IBA competitions due to the invasion of Ukraine - are suspended as National Federations by IBA.

Gazprom also informed IBA that they will not renew its general partnership agreement with IBA past its current expiry date of December 31 2022.

The Audit Committee stated that the "diversification of the revenue streams remains a top priority" for the organisation.

Governance reform was also a major talking point prior to the Congress, with a presentation being made by the independent Governance Reform Group members Heiner Kahlert and Melanie Schärer.

IBA President Umar Kremlev said the work of the independent group would work towards better governance ©IBA
IBA President Umar Kremlev said the work of the independent group would work towards better governance ©IBA

"With the help of these respected independent experts from the Governance Reform Group, IBA has been able to move definitively towards governance improvements that can only improve the way IBA serves boxers," said IBA President Umar Kremlev.

"Beyond the individual measures that we have adopted and that IBA will continue to implement, there is a clear and recognisable move towards a culture of integrity. 

"Culture change takes time, but after so many years of difficulty, IBA is now clearly on the right track."

Members also voted in favour of providing legal support to the Cameroon Boxing Federation in the run-up to their national election, as well as other National Federations which required it.

Vanuatu and St. Vincent and the Grenadines' suspensions remained in place.

The Board also discussed the abuse allegations made against Boxing Canada's high-performance national coach Daniel Trépanier. 

It approved the need for an investigation and opened a disciplinary procedure against Boxing Canada.

Many long-term members of the Board are set to stand down at the Congress, with IBA saying the reformed Board will be more representative with greater gender equality, but a reduced size.

Gender equality is one of the aims of the Board reforms ©IBA
Gender equality is one of the aims of the Board reforms ©IBA

"I want to thank the current IBA Board of Directors for the role they have played in driving the change that needed to happen within our organisation," added Kremlev.

"We have made significant strides over the past year and a half, and the Board members should be proud of their contributions. 

"I have every confidence that the IBA Congress will elect a very strong Board of Directors, and that the new Board will continue to guide our sport on the right path."

Five candidates for the Board were ruled ineligible on the eve of the elections.

Most prominently, Kremlev's only challenger for the Presidency, Dutch Boxing Federation President Boris van der Vorst, was one of these.

The five are part of the Common Cause Alliance, a group that says it wants to work with IBA over governance issues to help boxing regain its place at the Olympic Games.

The Boxing Independent Integrity Unit claimed the five candidates - the other four standing to sit on the Board of Directors - were campaigning outside of the electoral period and collaborated as candidates, which is prohibited.

USA Boxing's executive director Mike McAtee was one of those deemed ineligible too, shortly after a statement was made public of his endorsement of Van der Vorst.

Others unable to stand are Boxing New Zealand President Steve Hartley, President of the Swedish Boxing Federation Per-Axel Sjöholm and President of the Danish Boxing Federation Lars Brovil.

The quintet said they were discussing the matter further with lawyers.