Sport faces breakaway threat ahead of Tokyo
MOSCOW — Amateur boxing faces a breakaway threat ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo after its international federation elected a president accused of ties to organized crime.
The federation, known as AIBA, says a “rogue group” led by unnamed “Kazakhstani individuals” has asked national boxing federations to write to the International Olympic Committee offering to help run an Olympic tournament without AIBA.
AIBA published late Friday what it said was a sample letter organized by the breakaway group. The unsigned letter addressed to the IOC says “our group is ready to provide with the necessary technical expertise and sufficient financial conditions” to run the tournament, citing “the dire situation of the sport of boxing.”
Relations between the IOC and AIBA are tense after Uzbekistan businessman Gafur Rakhimov was elected AIBA president in November, beating Kazakh candidate Serik Konakbayev.
The U.S. Treasury Department has alleged Rakhimov is a heroin trafficker linked to organized crime and placed him under sanctions.
AIBA risks being derecognized in June after an IOC inquiry panel reports. Until then, AIBA is banned from contacting 2020 Tokyo Olympic organizers.