Boxing-IBA promises transparency and fairness at women's world championship

International Boxing Association(IBA) president Umar Kremlev reacts as he speaks to media at the opening ceremony of Women's World Boxing Championships at Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium in New Delhi, India, March 15, 2023. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - International Boxing Association (IBA) promised transparency and fairness at the women's world championship in New Delhi which kicked off with a bumper $2.4 million prize money on Wednesday.

Nearly a dozen nations have boycotted the championship protesting the presence of Russian and Belarusian boxers among 300-odd participants from 65 countries.

The IBA lifted a ban on Russian and Belarusian boxers last October, against the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) guidance following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year.

"IBA guarantees to everyone transparency and fairness," IBA President Umar Kremlev said through a translator after declaring the event open.

"We made a lot of efforts to make this process by inviting, for example, the team of McLaren," the Russian said referring to the investigation team led by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren.

The IBA has also welcomed the presence of an IOC monitoring group, which would "see first-hand IBA's best practices regarding technical and competitions rules, specifically its heralded bout review process," the federation said.

The IOC suspended the IBA in 2019 over governance, finance, refereeing and ethical issues and did not involve it in running the boxing events at the Tokyo Olympics. The IOC also plans to stage its own boxing qualifier for Paris.

For the Delhi event, the IBA has arranged open registration for boxers from boycotting nations and even extended financial support so they do not become "victim of the political games of a few National Federations".

It has also opened disciplinary proceedings against 11 countries boycotting the women's championship in Delhi and the men's event scheduled in May in Tashkent.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Christian Radnedge)

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