Wladimir Klitschko, former world champion boxer, has criticized the World Boxing Association for reinstating Russian and Belarusian boxers, amidst the war with Ukraine still going on, saying that he felt disrespected by the decision.
After removing Russian and Belarusian origin boxers from its rankings int he wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine with Belarus’ aid, the WBA decided to reincorporate them back into its ranking.
The decision has created much controversy in the athletics and political sphere, including Klitschko who showed his discontent towards the sanctioning body.
“Boxing needs more transparency and less greed,” said Klitschko. “The collaboration between the WBA and the IBA is a stain on this sport. The decision to reinstate the Russian and Belarusian boxers is an indelible moral fault. It is no coincidence that the IOC persists in excluding them until the 2028 Olympics. Really, boxing needs a big cleanup.”
The WBA’s response to Wladimir Klitschko
Gilberto Mendoza, president of the World Boxing Association, justified the decision made by the sanctioning body. He divided the sport of war and politics, which he cited as the reason in his response.
“The WBA, through its Championships Committee and its Qualifications Committee, issued a statement in which it decided to reinstate Russian and Belarusian boxers in its ranking. Athletes are not soldiers or rulers. They have nothing to do with the war. However, whoever speaks out in favor of the war or is involved will be removed immediately,” Mendoza noted.
Earlier this year, soon after the Russian military operation into Ukraine, Wladimir along his brother Vitali Klitschko, became a part of the country’s defense, alongside other Ukrainian citizens, as well as fellow boxers from the country such as Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk.