Tokyo 2020: future of boxing at the Olympics under threat over governance
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has warned that boxing’s place at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo could be under threat.
President of the IOC Thomas Bach says he remains “extremely worried” about the governance of the sport.
The International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) says it has complied with all IOC requirements.
But the IOC executive board said it was “not satisfied” with a report into governance, refereeing and anti-doping.
After a two-day meeting of the IOC board in Pyeongchang ahead of the Winter Olympics, Bach confirmed an investigation has now been opened, led by the chief of ethics and compliance officer at the IOC.
The IOC has decided to uphold its decision, first taken in December 2017, to suspend funding for the AIBA until it could prove it had tightened up its governance and finance procedures.
Bach added: “We are extremely worried about the governance in AIBA. The IOC reserves the right to review the inclusion of boxing on the programme of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
All contracts with AIBA have been frozen and the body now says it will present a further report to the IOC by the end of April.
The AIBA has described the decision as “extremely disappointing” and said it hoped the IOC board understands “that the processes necessary to implement even more measures require more time and the positive steps already taken in recent times are evidence of AIBA’s strong efforts and willingness to reform.”
Last week, the IOC voiced concerns over the AIBA’s interim president, Gafur Rakhimov, who has been described as “one of Uzbekistan’s leading criminals” by the US Treasury Department.
And Bach has also admitted that refereeing in the sport is still a key part of the IOC inquiry.
Scoring procedures of referees and judges during the Rio Olympics in 2016 were reviewed following the Games and the IOC president said those concerns remain now.
“From the fact that refereeing is part of the decision we already took in December last year and we were requesting more information, you can conclude we’re still looking into this issue,” he told a news conference on Sunday.
The threat to Olympic boxing would be a blow to the future of the sport in the UK, as a history of British success at the Games has often translated into success on the professional world stage.
Amir Khan won a silver medal in Athens in 2004, becoming Britain’s youngest boxing Olympic medallist at 17.
The former light-welterweight world champion has just announced his return to the ring after almost two years away from the sport.
Nicola Adams is a two-time Olympic champion, after becoming the first woman to claim gold in boxing in London 2012. She followed that with gold in Rio in 2016 before turning professional in January 2017.
Anthony Joshua, who took gold in London in 2012 and James DeGale, who claimed the Olympic crown in 2008 in Beijing, both came through the Olympic amateur system before going on to win world titles in the paid ranks.
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