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AIBA submits report to IOC with Tokyo fate at stake

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Gafur Rakhimov at the AIBA congress in Moscow where his election as president has threatened boxing’s Olympic future © AFP / Alexander NEMENOV

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Nov 12 – The International Boxing Association is counting on a crucial report being submitted to the International Olympic Committee on Monday to lift the threat over its inclusion at Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

Boxing risks ejection from the Games after controversial Uzbek businessman Gafur Rakhimov was elected AIBA president this month.

Whether the IOC delivers a KO on its Tokyo presence will be decided at an executive commission meeting in the 2020 host city next month.

Rakhimov’s election has caused consternation at the Olympic movement with the 67-year-old linked to organised crime by the US Treasury Department.

Rakhimov vehemently denies the allegations, telling AFP his appearance on the US Treasury’s list was “a mistake”.

IOC president Thomas Bach has said he was “extremely worried about the governance of AIBA”.

The IOC, which has frozen relations with the AIBA, was already losing patience with one of the blue riband Olympic sports since a judging scandal at the 2016 Rio Games.

The substance of Monday’s report is being kept under wraps but it concerns “governance, finance, ethics, sport integrity, democracy, assessment, and WADA,” AIBA’s general director Tom Virgets told AFP.

“The IOC has requested we not release our reports until a decision has been rendered,” the American said.

It follows an earlier review on internal reforms handed over in April.

Bach says Rakhimov is not boxing’s only issue.

“The problem with the AIBA is not just the election of someone as its president,” he commented last week.

“For more than a year we have expressed our deep concern over its general governance and finances.

“It’s all this that has pushed us to take such a rigid stance.

“We’ve given them the opportunity in November to submit a report outlining their point of view.

“Once we’ve got it we’ll study it in Tokyo at the start of December.”

With the AIBA’s Tokyo presence in jeopardy the IOC says it “will do everything to protect the athletes. In the event of exclusion it plans to stage a boxing championship during the Games in Tokyo.

“We don’t want athletes to be punished by the bad behaviour of some officials,” Bach said.

“Irrespective of the decision taken in December we will make the necessary efforts to ensure that athletes have the possibility to pursue their Olympic journey.”

Rakhimov, previously interim president, won 86 of the 134 second-round votes in the ballot in Moscow on november 3 to beat his only opponent, former boxer Serik Konakbayev of Kazakhstan.

On the eve of his election Rakhimov assured delegates and fans that “boxing will naturally be at the Olympic Games in 2020, Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028”.

Konakbayev meanwhile will be meeting “IOC officials shortly”, revealed a source close to the affair.

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