Tokyo 2020: Amateur boxing body plays down IOC threat

British boxer Nicola Adams
Nicola Adams was the first female boxer to win gold at the Olympics in 2012 and first to do the double in 2016

Amateur boxing's governing body says it is "confident" the sport will be at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) has told BBC Sport it will "satisfy" the concerns of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

President of the IOC Thomas Bach said he remains "extremely worried" about the AIBA's governance and finance procedures.

Bach had suggested boxing's Olympic place could be under threat.

Pat Fiacco, who is a member of the AIBA executive committee, said: "We are working in partnership with the IOC to ensure that we correct all of the mismanagement issues from the previous AIBA leadership that has created these problems.

"We will ensure that we satisfy the IOC concerns. We are confident that the great sport of boxing will not be removed from the Youth Olympic Games and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games."

After a two-day meeting of the IOC board in Pyeongchang ahead of the Winter Olympics, Bach confirmed an investigation has now been opened, led by the body's chief of ethics and compliance officer.

The IOC decided to uphold its decision, first taken in December 2017, to suspend funding for the AIBA until it could prove it had tightened up its governance.

Bach added: "We are extremely worried about the governance in AIBA. The IOC reserves the right to review the inclusion of boxing on the programme of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020."

All contracts with AIBA have been frozen and the body now says it will present a further report to the IOC by the end of April.

The AIBA has described the decision as "extremely disappointing" and said it hoped the IOC board understands "that the processes necessary to implement even more measures require more time and the positive steps already taken in recent times are evidence of AIBA's strong efforts and willingness to reform."

Last week, the IOC voiced concerns over the AIBA's interim president, Gafur Rakhimov, who has been described as "one of Uzbekistan's leading criminals" by the US Treasury Department.

But Fiacco said they followed the rules for Rakhimov's appointment, who has been a board member for the AIBA "for 20 years".

"We also changed the AIBA statutes that now reduces the power of the president and now gives more responsibility and authority to the AIBA executive committee," he added.

Rakhimov was given the role after the previous president, Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, was suspended over claims of mismanagement.

"We took the actions that we did because we needed to stop the damage that this was causing our great sport and organisation," Fiacco said.

"We are confident that with the changes we have made to our statutes and with all of the reviews we are currently conducting, through our partnership with the IOC we will ensure that the reputation of our sport is once again a very good one."

Bach has also admitted that refereeing in the sport is still a key part of the IOC inquiry.

Scoring procedures of referees and judges during the Rio Olympics in 2016 were reviewed following the Games and the IOC president said those concerns remain now.

"From the fact that refereeing is part of the decision we already took in December last year and we were requesting more information, you can conclude we're still looking into this issue," he told a news conference on Sunday.

A threat to the future of British boxing?

2012 Olympic boxing champion Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua won gold at his home Olympics in London in 2012

A threat to Olympic boxing would be a blow to the future of the sport in the UK, as a history of British success at the Games has often translated into success on the professional world stage.

Amir Khan won a silver medal in Athens in 2004, becoming Britain's youngest boxing Olympic medallist at 17.

The former light-welterweight world champion has just announced his return to the ring after almost two years away from the sport.

Nicola Adams is a two-time Olympic champion, after becoming the first woman to claim gold in boxing in London 2012. She followed that with gold in Rio in 2016 before turning professional in January 2017.

Anthony Joshua, who took gold in London in 2012 and James DeGale, who claimed the Olympic crown in 2008 in Beijing, both came through the Olympic amateur system before going on to win world titles in the paid ranks.

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