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Chris Roberts, the new IBA CEO, talks about the boxing Federation’s plans

January 18, 2024

Last year International Olympic Committee withdrew the recognition of International Boxing Association (IBA) at Olympic events. However, the IBA is still very positive and is accelerating its growth globally. iSportConnect’s Taruka Srivastav spoke with IBA CEO Chris Roberts in Dubai to delve into their future plans.

Chris, tell us about the discussions which took place at the IBA Global Boxing Forum and Congress in Dubai.

We encompassed everything that we possibly could to make the IBA Global Boxing Forum and Ordinary Congress an exceptional worthwhile weekend for everybody who travelled there to take part in these milestone events. We brought all of our National Federations members into the debate, and it was a good opportunity to inform everybody about what we’re doing within IBA currently, what happened in 2023 and the plan for 2024. The event calendar for 2024 will include many Champions’ Nights, an increase from 10 editions last year. Serpukhov, Russia is stated to host the first of these on 3 February. 

What is more, the IBA calendar is busy with three major events where World Championships prize money was doubled both for men’s and women’s elite events. 

The IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 2024 is to take place in Astana, Kazakhstan, with a number of experienced National Federations in talks over the IBA Men’s World Boxing Championships. In addition, Poreč, Croatia is to host IBA Youth Men’s and Women’s World Boxing Championships in late October – early November. 

The year 2023 ended on a positive note as some countries have joined back like the USA with its newly established boxing entity, as US Boxing Federation led by Roy Jones Jr, and Switzerland with its governing body SwissBoxing. Oceania gained two new members as the Norfolk Island Boxing Association and Tuvalu Amateur Boxing Association were also accepted to become permanent members of the IBA . We were clearly conscious about our National Federations and where they’re going and what they’re doing. Because every National Federation is important to us and we try to reach out as far as we can to, to develop boxing in all corners of the world.

Will we see more National Federations join IBA this year?

We have opened up the doors for new National Federations to come in which will bring in a new entity to increase the worldwide representation and allow boxers from these countries to compete in the IBA events. We’ll continue to do that for the sake of our athletes, first and foremost. 

We saw the German, Czech and the Dutch National Federations’ memberships being terminated by the Congress as well. Tell us about it. 

Our focus is to support our people and try to actively encourage them to create conditions for the athletes. We have other organisations within those countries that are willing to step forward and be part of the IBA. 

Athletes in those countries deserver to be looked after and managed accordingly. We actively encourage recently terminated federations to look at opportunities to explore and to develop new organisations to become part of the IBA family – we support and actively encourage new members.

Chris, you have recently joined the IBA as Secretary General & CEO, so how are you managing everything? Like what’s the strategy and approach?

I like to break things down. The greatest thing for me is the team behind me. We’ve got a great President; and his vision is absolutely brilliant. 

It’s been challenging and very exciting to lead the team into big events, help the organization excel and take care of our athletes and coaches. 

We are working on a brand-new organisational strategy and calendar to ensure that best practices are in place and boxing continues to develop worldwide. 

Will we see IBA gain more commercial global sponsors?

We have got some interested parties, and we will be finalising and extremely large sponsor soon. We’ve had a good number of interested parties that want to come on board to support what we’re doing; the concept of our new calendar and the Champions Night product has brough a whole new exciting dynamic to the World of Boxing

Boxing IBA sportsbiz