Boxing’s Fight Outside the Ring | The Sporting Base

Boxing’s Fight Outside the Ring

October 22, 2018

By Lindsay

Boxing has been part of the Olympic Games since 1904, but there are growing fears that the sport will be dropped from the next Olympics in Tokyo 2020. The sport has been embroiled in controversy at international level since the Rio Olympics (2016) where all 36 AIBA (International Boxing Association) referees and judges were suspended over questionable decisions that sometimes favored Russian or Uzbek fighters.

The crisis will come to a head at the forthcoming Congress of AIBA, the sport’s world governing body, which takes place in Moscow on November 2-3.

The key issue is the election of a new president, following the ousting of the previous incumbent, Dr CK Wu. Amidst an internal revolt within AIBA the position has been held on an interim basis by Gafur Rakhimov, a controversial figure with links to organised crime in central Asia, which he denies. Rakhimov has been blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department as “one of Uzbekistan’s leading criminals” and an alleged key figure in the heroin trade.

“one of Uzbekistan’s leading criminals”

The President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach has warned that Rakhimov’s election as President could put boxing’s place at Tokyo in jeopardy. Bach said boxing’s Olympic future ‘greatly depends’ on the outcome of the Congress in the Russian capital which has been interpreted as a clear warning to members of the AIBA. While the organisation may resent the fact that an outside body appears to be holding them to ransom, the consequences are clear in the the event of Rakhimov being elected, boxing faces expulsion from the Tokyo 2020 Games. 

Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones Jnr, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Floyd Mayweather, Gennady Golovkin, Lennox Lewis, Anthony Joshua, Vasyl Lomachenko, Pernell Whitaker, Wladimir Klitschko, Andre Ward, Miguel Cotto, Katie Taylor, Oscar De La Hoya and the list goes on of great professional boxing champions who competed at the Olympics. 

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