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Boxing Could Still Feature at Tokyo 2020 Despite Row

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Brazil's Robson Conceicao, right, fights France's Sofiane Oumiha during a men's lightweight 60-kg final boxing match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016. Photo: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

By Liam Morgan |

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has offered hope could boxing could still feature on the program at Tokyo 2020 even if Gafur Rakhimov is elected President of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) against their wishes.

In a statement following an Executive Board meeting today, the IOC promised boxers it would “do its utmost to ensure that the athletes do not have to suffer under these circumstances and will protect their Olympic dream.”

The IOC warned, however, that recognition of AIBA as an International Federation was in doubt owing to the ongoing issues within the governing body.

Removing the recognition of AIBA would mean they would be not able to organize an Olympic boxing competition.

IOC Presidential spokesperson Mark Adams declined to give further details on how they would go about ensuring an Olympic boxing event is still held at Tokyo 2020 even if they sanction AIBA but insidethegames understands a new organisation could be specially established to oversee competition in the Japanese capital.

Earlier today, Rakhimov, described as “one of Uzbekistan’s leading criminals” by the United States Treasury Department, was officially confirmed as the only candidate to become the new President of AIBA.

Rakhimov’s candidacy goes against a direct warning from the IOC that standing for the role would jeopardize boxing’s place on the program at Tokyo 2020.

The IOC has consistently urged Rakhimov, the current Interim President, not to run for the role on a permanent basis.

A letter written by IOC chief ethics and compliance officer Päquerette Girard Zappelli to Rakhimov, exclusively revealed last month by insidethegames, made the organisation’s position clear.

Zappelli warned it will be “crucial in the best interests of boxing within the Olympic Movement that only candidates benefiting from a full clean situation can stand for the President’s position.”

That document prompted AIBA executive vice-president Franco Falcinelli to urge the world governing body’s Executive Committee members to back Kazakhstan’s Serik Konakbayev over Rakhimov.

Konakbayev, however, failed to receive the required 20 nominations to stand for President leaving Rakhimov a clear path to the Presidency at the AIBA Congress scheduled for November 2 and 3 in Moscow.

The Kazak is currently preparing an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which he is expected to file on Friday (October 5).

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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