AIBA bans ex-boss for life with boxing’s Olympic future in peril

AIBA President Wu Ching-Kuo, pictured in 2016, lost a no-confidence motion in Moscow (AFP pic)

LAUSANNE: The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has slapped a life ban on its former boss for “gross negligence and financial mismanagement” as the crisis-wracked sport’s Olympic future comes under the spotlight.

The AIBA Executive Committee issued a statement Tuesday saying it had decided to ban Taiwanese ex-president CK Wu and former executive director Ho Kim of South Korea for life.

An internal power struggle earlier this year saw Taiwan’s Wu ousted and controversial Uzbek businessman Gafur Rakhimov — who has always vigorously denied US government allegations of links to organised crime — installed as interim president.

Wu was banned after a report by “forensic investigators” K2 Intelligence documented “gross negligence and financial mismanagement of AIBA affairs and finances”, said the statement.

The ban will need to ratified by member federations at the AIBA Congress in Moscow in November where the boxing governing body’s new president is due to be elected.

A report on website Insidethegames.biz this week said Rakhimov would be the only candidate after his one presidential rival, Kazakhstan’s Serik Konakbayev, failed to get the required 20 letters of support from member federations.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has threatened to exclude boxing from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics if Rakhimov is elected.

AIBA is expected to be discussed by the IOC Executive Committee when it begins a two-day meeting in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, AIBA executive director Tom Virgets defended the bans.

“Now it is up to the National Federations to make the final decision, but the executive committee needed to act now, especially as this situation has threatened to influence the upcoming election for AIBA leadership positions,” he said.

“The executive committee simply felt that enough was enough in terms of misinformation and deceit in a time where everybody in AIBA should be working together for the best of boxing.”

IOC president Thomas Bach said in February that he was “extremely worried about the governance of AIBA” and that the IOC retained the “right to exclude boxing from Tokyo 2020”.

The proposed election of Rakhimov has also exposed deep divisions in AIBA, which this week also suspended Franco Falcinelli from the executive committee, his role as president of the European Boxing Confederation and all other boxing-related activities after he wrote a letter in support of Konakbayev.

Insidethegames.biz said Konakbayev was planning to appeal against to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, claiming he did have enough letters of support but missed the September 23 deadline for submission by just a few hours.