Olympic boxing bouts ‘rigged’: Russian boss vows justice after investigation says ‘manipulation system’ in place at Rio Games
The Russian head of international boxing organization the AIBA has promised action after an investigation suggested more than 10 boxing matches at the 2016 Rio Olympics were manipulated.
The investigation was commissioned by the AIBA and headed by Professor Richard McLaren, who said the “seeds had been sown” years before.
McLaren – who is well-known for his doping allegations against Russia – said his team were unable to determine the exact number of bouts that were manipulated but indicated there were as many as 11 ‘suspicious’ fights – and possibly more.
Prof. McLaren’s investigation revealed a system for manipulating results at Rio 2016. Our boxers deserve a fair fight. AIBA is committed to uncovering the truth and acting on it. AIBA will take all necessary steps to ensure justice for the past, and a fair future. pic.twitter.com/qErQYSoL1n
— AIBA (@AIBA_Boxing) September 30, 2021
One of the fights under investigation had been that of Irish boxer Michael Conlan, who lost a bantamweight quarter-final to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin which proved to be highly controversial, with many believing the Irishman should have won the fight.
Following his defeat at the time, Conlan said: “They’re known for being cheats. Amateur boxing stinks from the core right to the top. It’s about whoever pays the most money.”
Conlan reacted to the news of the McLaren report on Twitter, saying: “Lads I want my medal, get it sorted and I’ll DM you my address. Thanks.”
The fight involving Russia’s Evgeny Tischenko and Kazakhstan’s Vasily Levit for the heavyweight gold medal has also been questioned, while Great Britain’s Joe Joyce’s super heavyweight fight with France’s Tony Yoka likewise raised suspicion.
The investigation also claimed that the Olympic qualifiers for Rio were the “practice ground” where the manipulation methods were “fine-tuned”.
Russian AIBA President Umar Kremlev said: “Professor McLaren and his team have identified a system for manipulating the results of bouts at the Rio 2016 boxing tournament.
“I am determined to ensure that boxers receive a fair fight. This determination is demonstrated by AIBA’s clear commitment to uncovering the truth and acting on it.”
Kremlev has promised justice for the boxers affected and vowed that the AIBA would seek legal advice on how to punish those found guilty of wrong doing.
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Those officiating at the upcoming AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships in Belgrade will now be subject to tougher selection criteria including background checks.
Amateur boxing could yet face more problems in the coming weeks and months however, with the IOC warning it has concerns over the judging at the AIBA youth World Championships and the Asian Championships.
The AIBA had been stripped of its ability to run the boxing at the Olympics in Tokyo and there is also concern from some that the sport could be removed from the 2024 Paris Olympics entirely.
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