IOC ‘in line’ to have box­ing at Tokyo games, but that’s no guar­an­tee

The Beaufort Gazette (Sunday) - - Sports - BY STEPHEN WADE

The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee wants box­ing to be held at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. That much we know.

But IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach could not give an iron­clad prom­ise Satur­day that it will hap­pen when the Olympics open in just more than 20 months.

“We want to have the box­ing tour­na­ment in the games in Tokyo and we will make all ef­forts to have it,” Bach said Satur­day as the IOC closed two days of meet­ings.

Ac­cu­sa­tions of cor­rup­tion and malfea­sance sur­round­ing the box­ing fed­er­a­tion that runs the sport at the Olympics have left the fu­ture of box­ing in the air.

The IOC on Fri­day ini­ti­ated a for­mal in­quiry into AIBA – an acro­nym for the In­ter­na­tional Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion – and has given it­self six months to work be­hind the scenes to solve a prob­lem it’s been fac­ing for a year.

“We also have re­ceived a re­quest from the na­tional box­ing fed­er­a­tion of Ja­pan, plead­ing to have an Olympic box­ing tour­na­ment,” Bach said. “We’re ab­so­lutely in line with this re­quest.”

There is spec­u­la­tion the IOC could run the event, us­ing AIBA judges and ref­er­ees. Or, the tour­na­ment might not be staged at all, which is a long shot.

IOC mem­ber Ne­nad Lalovic of Ser­bia is head­ing the in­quiry, a strong Bach ally and pres­i­dent of United World Wrestling – the Olympic wrest­ing body.

IOC sports di­rec­tor Kit McCon­nell said the in­quiry into AIBA was un­prece­dented.

“We’ve been try­ing to find a so­lu­tion to this through­out the course of 2018,” McCon­nell said.

A ma­jor prob­lem is Ga­fur Rakhi­mov of Uzbek­istan, who was elected pres­i­dent of the body Nov. 3 de­spite be­ing on a U.S. Trea­sury Depart­ment sanc­tions list. He re­placed C.K. Wu as pres­i­dent, an IOC mem­ber who was forced out as AIBA pres­i­dent with the body fac­ing bank­ruptcy.

Rakhi­mov de­nies al­leged links to or­ga­nized crime net­works and the in­ter­na­tional drug trade. The long-time AIBA ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber was pre­vented from at­tend­ing the 2000 Syd­ney Olympics and 2012 London Olympics by Aus­tralian and Bri­tish gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties.

The Amer­i­can fed­eral sanc­tions bar U.S. cit­i­zens and com­pa­nies from do­ing busi­ness with him.

In a state­ment Fri­day, the IOC said it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing AIBA’s finances, gov­er­nance, ethics, anti-dop­ing, and ref­er­ee­ing and judg­ing, which was re­peat­edly ques­tioned at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

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