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Boxing chiefs will not sanction fights in Russia

The decision has been made in light of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine

Boxing’s leading governing bodies have announced they will no longer arrange title fights in Russia following the start of the military operation in Ukraine.

A joint statement by the World Boxing Council (WBC), International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) said the organizations would “not sanction any boxing championships in Russia” until further assessment of the situation“.

The statement, titled ‘The World of Boxing United for Immediate Peace’, added that the military operation had “put a stop [on] boxing in Ukraine.”

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The declaration was signed by the presidents of each organizing body and could impact the careers of two Russian world champions in Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev.

Bivol last defended his WBA light heavyweight title against Umar Salamov in Ekaterinburg in December, and his next bout will see him defend the strap against pound-for-pound great Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on May 7. 

Beterbiev last fought in Russia in March 2021 when he knocked out Adam Deines in the 10th round at the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow, with his most recent fight in adopted hometown Montreal, where he retained his WBC and IBF belts by seeing off Marcus Browne with a ninth-round KO in December. 

Beterbiev is expected to face one of the division’s other champions in WBO ruler Joe Smith Jr. in New York in June, but the organizing bodies’ decision throws cold water on him and Bibvol fighting in Russia anytime soon unless the conflict with Ukraine is resolved.

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Former heavyweight boxer Wladimir Klitschko. © Eóin Noonan / Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images
Klitschko issues Ukraine rallying cry

The ruling also affects fighters battling for lesser titles and in title eliminators, however, which means that a March 26 card arranged in Ekaterinburg, where Magomed Kurbanov is scheduled to take on ex-champion Patrick Teixeira, will be impacted as things stand.

A card in moscow on March 19, when Anna Levina was set to try and beat Halima Vunjabei for the vacant WBC International female junior flyweight title, is also likely to be affected.

The bodies’ stance comes after the WBC indefinitely decided not to “recognize or sanction” any activities within Russia until “the re-establishment of peace and the preservation of human rights” in Ukraine, which, like Russia, boasts two world champions in heavyweight king Oleksandr Usyk and WBA flyweight tittlist Artem Dalakian.

The WBC nodded to its previous decision to freeze activities in South Africa due to apartheid from 1975 to 1992 as past evidence of a historic commitment to human rights.

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The WBO’s President, Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcarcel, revealed on Friday that he was considering removing Russian boxers from the WBO’s rankings while the military operation in Ukraine was underway, but this was criticized by some as being unfair to the boxing community. 

Former heavyweight boxing champion brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko are well-known to the organizing bodies.

Current Kiev mayor Vitali was the WBC and Ring magazine’s champion in the mid-2000s and Wladimir held most pieces of the heavyweight crown until he was dethroned by Tyson Fury in November 2015.

https://ift.tt/bd83M6x 27, 2022 at 08:51PM
from RT – Daily news

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