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WBA Imposes New Rules Toward Russian Born Fighters

By: Hans Themistode

Most of the world has sat back in horror as the war between Russia and Ukraine has intensified.

In an effort to bolster their defenses, several Ukrainian boxing stars are lending their homeland a helping hand. Those would include former three-division titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko, current unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and his brother, Vitali Klitschko who held the WBC heavyweight crown and is the current mayor of Kyiv in Ukraine.

Most recently, it was revealed that Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko, is preparing to deploy soldiers into Ukraine in support of Russia.

With no end in sight, the WBA sanctioning body has jumped into action. As a whole, the entire committee has agreed on a slew of succinct new rules that will take effect immediately.

  • Russian fighters will not be allowed to enter the ring with their flag. Their anthem will not be played and the country will not be named.
  • In the rank, the word “peace” will be used to reflect the Russian fighters and not the acronym of the country.
  • No sanctioning of world and/or regional bouts in the country is reaffirmed.
  • All sanctions against Russia should also apply to Belarus.
  • Failure to comply with these measures will be punished with sanctions by the WBA.
  • WBA reserves the right to exclude from its lower ranking boxers who speak out in favor of war.
  • All managers, promoters, trainers affiliated to the World Boxing Association will apply, to the best of their ability, mediation mechanisms for peace.
  • WBA will launch a campaign for Peace
  • The WBA will exclude Russian and Belarusian boxers from the next ranking lists. The measure is temporary and will be reviewed month by month. Current world or regional champions will maintain their status, and this will be subject to review by the respective Committee.
  • Russian and Belarusian officials will also be banned from participating in world and/or regional championship fights, according to a resolution from the WBA Executive Committee.
  • Promoters or teams of Russian boxers who violate this provision, may be sanctioned.

In a somewhat similar move, the WBC, WBO, and IBF sanctioning bodies were all in agreement to no longer sanction boxing matches in Russia.

With the WBA taking their actions one step further, it’s yet to be known what role their new rules will play going forward for Dmitry Bivol. The 31-year-old Russian native is the sanctioning body’s only WBA champion across all weight classes.

The pugilistic power puncher, who’s scheduled to take on Canelo Alvarez on May 7th, has proudly draped his Russian flag over his shoulders before each of his bouts. Now, however, the WBA has made it clear that those actions will no longer be tolerated by Bivol or anyone else of Russian descent.

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