Boxing suffers Olympic scare – Improvements needed to ensure Tokyo inclusion


There was a major scare this evening in Switzerland and a stern warning regarding amateur boxing’s place at the Tokyo Olympics.

At a press conference in Lausanne, International Olympic Committee [IOC] president Thomas Bach discussed, following numerous controversies and allegations, the position of boxing in relation to the upcoming 2020 Olympiad in Japan.

The German’s comments were initially misconstrued and it quickly spread that boxing would be excluded from the next Games.

It was soon clarified that the IOC, rather than excluding boxing, had ‘merely’ reserved the right to do so and that the International Boxing Association (AIBA) are essentially required to get their house in order ahead of a follow-up inquiry in July.

The IOC had expressed concerns over the governance of the AIBA back in December and re-affirmed these in February when they froze payments and contracts to the body.

This came following the appointment of crime-linked Uzbek Gafur Rakhimov as interim president of the body – replacing Italian Franco Falcinelli who had replaced the controversial CK Wu who resided over the body during the Rio Olympics where Mick Conlan somehow lost to Vladimir Nikitin.

The threat of Olympic expulsion was raised early this year – and remains on the table following tonight’s press conference.

While Rakhimov remains the AIBA interim president, Bach acknowledged that improvements are starting to be made but stated that “we think we now need to see action in the programmes and plans. That is what we require from AIBA. therefore we retain our right to exclude boxing from the programme of the Olympics Games Toyko 2020.”

The AIBA welcomed the comments and pledged to continue implementing changes and a complete organisational review, culminating in a ‘new foundation plan’ to be released in July.

AIBA Executive Director Tom Virgets said that “the whole AIBA organisation has been working extremely hard in the last few months and we are very pleased that these efforts and results have been recognized by our colleagues at the IOC. In line with our commitment to transparency, we look forward to sharing the submitted report with all of our members as soon as possible. This is a new AIBA and we are fully committed to putting into action the values of Boxing and the Olympic Movement.”

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie