Russia to host returning Boxing World Cup

Image: Boxing Federation of Russia

The Boxing Federation of Russia has announced that the country will host the resurrected Boxing World Cup later this year, expressing confidence that the event will not be affected by sanctions proposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

The Federation said the national team tournament will be held across eight Russian cities, with Nizhny Novgorod to host the finals. It added that the World Cup will be designed to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the ‘Great Patriotic War’.

The Federation said the executive committee of the International Boxing Association (Aiba) backed the proposal during a meeting in Budapest, Hungary. Under the plans, more than 200 nations will participate across 10 weight categories for men and women. Continental qualifying competitions will be held.

Russia held the last edition of the World Cup in Moscow in 2008, with the competition having previously been staged as both a team and individual event from its first edition in New York in 1979.

General secretary of the Boxing Federation of Russia and member of the Aiba Executive Committee, Umar Kremlev, said: “The holding of these competitions will give a strong impetus to the development of sports in Russia – regions will be credited. And again, the eyes of the whole boxing world will be set to our country.

“The tournament will be organised at the highest level, and I think that it will be better than the World Championships. It will be more interesting, spectacular and brighter. The World Cup should not be sanctioned by Wada, as they recommended not to host world championships. Otherwise, we will still defend the right to host this tournament in Russia.”

In January, Wada formally requested that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) resolve the dispute concerning the non-compliance case against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada). Wada in December upheld a recommendation for Russia to be banned from the international sports community for four years as then-president Craig Reedie said that a “robust response” was needed against a “blatant breach” by Russian authorities of the conditions to bring Rusada back in line.

The verdict unanimously endorsed the recommendation made in November by Wada’s independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) that Rusada be declared non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code for four years.

The sanctions imposed by Wada include the provision that Russia may not host, bid for, or be granted in the four-year period, the right to host any major sporting events. Where the right to host a major event in the period has already been awarded to Russia, the signatory must withdraw that right and re-assign the event to another country, unless it is legally or “practically impossible” to do so.

In November, Aiba formed two commissions dedicated to its ongoing reform efforts and the development of a new marketing strategy for the crisis-hit world governing body. Aiba is continuing efforts to overhaul its governance amid multiple issues that saw the International Olympic Committee (IOC) strip it of its Olympic status in June.

Aiba appointed a task force to market rights to competitions such as the World Cup, World Series of Boxing (WSB) and World Championships. Aiba said this group would devise a “global marketing plan” to attract sponsors and secure broadcast deals for these competitions.

The steering committee is led by Kremlev, who hit the headlines in March after offering to write off the organisation’s $16m (€14.8m) debt if the sport was guaranteed a place at this year’s Olympic Games.