Tokyo - Boxing
was fighting for its Olympic future on Friday as top officials decide
whether to punish the sport's governing body, which is on the ropes over
finances, judging and its controversial leader.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made clear that
boxing's future at the Tokyo 2020 Games could be facing a knockout blow
amid serious concerns over governance at the International Boxing
Boxing already incurred the IOC's wrath at the last Games in Rio,
when 36 officials and referees were suspended amid allegations of bout
And relations have not been improved by the election earlier this
month of Uzbek businessman Gafur Rakhimov, who has been linked to
organised crime by the US Treasury Department. Rakhimov strenuously
denies the allegations.
President Thomas Bach confirmed Thursday the IOC's Executive Board
would examine a report by AIBA on how they had cleaned up their act.
But Bach said earlier this year that a previous report in April "lacks execution and substance in some areas."
Bach has also stressed that he will not allow competitors to suffer
from the "bad behaviour of some officials," suggesting the IOC is not
ready to completely throw in the towel on the boxing competition at
"Irrespective of the decision taken... we will make the necessary
efforts to ensure that athletes have the possibility to pursue their
Olympic journey," said Bach.
IOC officials are expected to reveal any decisions made at a news conference later Friday.
The AIBA has insisted in statements released in the run-up to the Tokyo meeting that it has made the necessary improvements.
It said a new judging system brought in after the Rio scandal had
been "positively received by athletes and technical officials alike."
The association also said that it had restored its finances to a
healthy level and implemented "stringent" new controls to turn the page
on previous mismanagement.
"The fear of going bankrupt due to past financial mismanagement is
now far behind us," said Rakhimov in a statement released on Thursday.
"It is time to turn the page and look further to the development of boxing worldwide," added the 67-year-old.
AIBA has implemented a "significant number of changes" to improve
accountability and financial controls, the association stressed.
Earlier this month, Rakhimov insisted that boxing had "exceeded" the
governance requirements that threaten its future at the Games.
The sport is also "100 percent compliant with anti-doping rules" - another concern from the IOC.
Boxing has an ancient Olympic tradition and was introduced to the
Ancient Games by the Greeks in the seventh century B.C., according to
the IOC website.
It made its debut at the modern games in St. Louis in 1904 and has
featured at every Olympics since, apart from the Stockholm Games of 1912
because Swedish law at the time banned the sport.
"We have no doubt that boxing will be at the Olympics" in 2020, said
Alberto Puig, president of the boxing federation in Cuba, which has a
proud Olympic boxing tradition.