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