World Boxing announced Nigeria as the first member nation from Africa ©Getty Images

Tensions between Africa and the International Boxing Association (IBA) look like they are escalating as rival body World Boxing announced Nigeria as the first member nation from the continent.

Finland, Iceland, Jamaica, Norway, and the Czech Republic join the African nation as the newest members of World Boxing.

This brings the total to 22 members as the new body looks set to host its inaugural Congress in Frankfurt on November 24 and 25.

The African Boxing Confederation (AFBC) was supposed to elect a new President at its Extraordinary Congress to succeed Bertrand Mendouga this month in Durban but was postponed due to a row over the list of candidates.

While AFBC announced later that they will conduct the elections on November 18 in Africa, IBA wants its continental member to hold them in Dubai.

This has led to a tricky situation with IBA threatening not to cover the costs of the Congress if it is held in Africa.

IBA President Umar Kremlev has enjoyed great support from Africa so far, but Nigeria departing could be the beginning of a mass exodus.

However, the Asian Boxing Confederation recently said its will stick with the Russian-led body until World Boxing gets International Olympic Committee recognition.

“We are very pleased to welcome this latest cohort of National Federations and increase the global footprint of World Boxing which now has members on every continent that participates in international boxing,” World Boxing secretary general Simon Toulson said.

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IOC President Thomas Bach has warned that World Boxing “don’t have sufficient global representation” to replace IBA ©Getty Images

 “It is clear from comments made at its recent Session that the IOC is supportive of boxing, as a sport, and wants it to remain part of the Olympic programme and that the only way to do this is for National Federations to get behind a new international federation that is committed to integrity, transparency and rigorous governance standards.

“World Boxing is the only organisation that can deliver this and the consistent growth in our membership along with the continued interest we are receiving from National Federations on all continents is a clear sign of the growing support for World Boxing and widespread desire for change that exists across the sport.

“We are continuing to process membership applications from around the globe and look forward to welcoming more countries to be part of World Boxing in advance of our inaugural Congress.”

The future of boxing looks bleak with the expelled IBA stripped of its right to host the Olympic boxing tournament, leaving the sport fighting for its future at Los Angeles 2028.

The IBA has appealed its expulsion with the case set to be heard in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on November 16.

While IOC director general Christophe De Kepper had earlier said boxing will take place in Los Angeles, there are doubts due to a lack of a credible organisation to replace IBA.

IOC President Thomas Bach has warned that World Boxing “don’t have sufficient global representation” to replace IBA.

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By Vimal Sankar 

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