Category Archives: Amateur

August 13, 2017
August 13, 2017


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BOXING’S world governing body AIBA has been plunged deeper into civil war after the beleaguered organisation filed a criminal complaint against members of its own executive committee in Switzerland.

The move comes after a Swiss court rejected a bid by members of the International Management Committee – ostensibly, those executive committee members who passed a no-confidence motion last month – to oust president Ching-Kuo Wu.

The ongoing acrimony inevitably raises serious questions over AIBA’s ability to stage a successful World Championships. This year’s edition is scheduled to start in Hamburg on August 25.

The president of AIBA Dr Ching-Kuo Wu talks with Lord Coe in 2012 (PA)
The president of AIBA Dr Ching-Kuo Wu talks with Lord Coe in 2012 (PA)

In a letter to national federations seen by Press Association Sport, AIBA executive director William Louis-Marie writes: “(The) facts strongly indicate that the so-called IMC is working against AIBA, its mission to develop boxing in all its form, and they form a sufficient basis to file a criminal complaint.

“The only wise – and legitimate – decision that the so-called IMC could take would be to mitigate the harm already done to AIBA by withdrawing the request for provisional measures filed… in Lausanne.”

The no-confidence motion, which was dismissed as unconstitutional by Wu’s camp, triggered an imminent extraordinary congress, at which Wu’s position is set to come under renewed threat. It also led to the AIBA offices in Lausanne being closed for one week while the warring factions sought to establish which was in charge.

Although the IMC lost the latest round in the court battle, its members say it vindicated its right to continue to operate as a recognised committee, both legally and according to AIBA’s own statutes, under the auspices of the executive committee.

The IMC, chaired by AIBA vice-president Franco Falcinelli, who is named in the court documents, has accused Wu’s regime of presiding over a financial crisis which has taken it to the brink of bankruptcy, something Wu vigorously denies.

In response, AIBA officials have questioned the alleged involvement in the IMC’s campaign of two former executive directors, Ho Kim and Karim Bouzidi.

Kim was removed from his position after almost 10 years in charge in 2015, with AIBA subsequently citing financial misappropriation for the decision. Kim denied the allegations in a letter to national federations last year in which he described Wu as “the lowest form of human being”.

Kim was replaced by Bouzidi, who was “re-assigned” midway through the boxing tournament at last year’s Rio Olympics, following a series of high-profile judging controversies.

Both Kim and Bouzidi were copied in on an email from Falcinelli to AIBA staff on July 30, warning that under “no circumstances” should they take into account previous correspondence from Wu.

A further hearing in the AIBA power battle is scheduled for the Swiss courts starting on August 17, but a ruling is not expected until September.

July 28, 2017
July 28, 2017
London 2012

Action Images

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THE obstacles that have blocked the progress of Anthony Ogogo have been many and varied. In the past the Triple A boxer has engineered crazy wins under unique circumstances, from beating Indian star Vijender Singh in Delhi without landing a scoring blow (two public warnings went in Ogogo’s favour) to Anthony’s miraculous Olympic qualification comeback. Yet he will have to face his most daunting boxing challenge in Ievgen Khytrov.

The Ukrainian middleweight is the World champion, top Olympic seed and favoured to triumph at London 2012.

“I feel like I can beat anybody. It’s going to take a momentous effort. I feel I’ve got it,” said Anthony.

Khytrov enjoyed a bye at the preliminary stage of the tournament at the ExCel while Ogogo had the Dominican Republic’s Junior Castillo to contend with. As Great Britain’s first boxer to compete at London 2012, the Lowestoft man was greeted by a wall of sound as he strode into the arena, a reception like none other in amateur boxing.

But in the first round Ogogo boxed with the burden of that pressure on his shoulders. His feet were working, cornering Castillo, but he stayed tight, tense, not letting his fists loose. Castillo, a southpaw prepared to make life awkward for him, waited for Ogogo, sweeping hooks across his guard. But the Englishman’s left hook struck hard. He flung a one-two before stepping back and, after the first round, had edged ahead.

Castillo put together more combinations, drilling his rear left hand through. Anthony’s nerve held. He looked to counter with his own cross. When that fell short, he drove his lead in. Ogogo doubled his right hand and the crowd played their part too; after the second he had an 8-3 lead.

He harnessed that momentum, lifting his arms to fire up the arena before he went out for the last round. Castillo flew straight forward, linking straight punches, Ogogo edged straight back.

He knew he had it won. But lowering his normally solid defence could have been foolish. It did, however, encourage Castillo to come in. Ogogo looped a left hook up, before slamming in the same shot once again. Junior’s own lead hook shook Anthony but he closed the bout, spinning out of his opponent’s clutches and sending the Dominican slipping to the deck. It ended 13-6 in Ogogo’s favour.

“That was better than I dreamed it was going to be,” Anthony said of the atmosphere. “It lifted me up, brought me up. Just amazing.”

On the day of this bout Anthony’s sister Leanne went into labour and the GB middleweight is now the proud uncle of a baby boy. But trauma in his family life has cast an awful perspective on his participation in the Games. His mother suffered a brain haemorrhage six weeks prior.

“She’s in hospital, still recovering but she’s doing amazingly well. I’m so proud of her. She’s given me strength to get in that ring,” said Ogogo. “If she can come from where she was to now and hopefully get better, I can win the Olympics.”

He can beat Khytrov, but it will require a momentous effort. He’ll have to match the Ukrainian’s frenetic workrate, manoeuvre him cleverly at the same time. Ogogo is the underdog for sure. But one who ought to be full of self-belief. You can count on him, through every second of the work, never to give in.

Two Irish boxers were in action on the first day, with bantamweight John Joe Nevin excelling. His movement, aggression and handspeed confounded Denmark’s Dennis Ceylan. He landed clear jabs and put spite into the right, bobbing his head clear of return fire. Ceylan clipped him with the odd shot but Nevin’s fine judgement of distance prevented anything changing the momentum. The Irishman won 21-6.

“I’m delighted with the performance, getting my country off to a winning start, I’m over the moon,” said Nevin.

“It was brilliant to walk out to such a round of applause. Probably for the first minute or so my legs were a bit shaky. When you’re winning it’s just so exciting to hear them shout every time you land a punch.

“The score looked comfortable but it wasn’t that comfortable. I was taking a few punches. If I don’t perform, anyone can beat me. If I perform, no one can beat me.”

Irish team captain, middleweight Darren O’Neill, maintained the winning run with a 15-6 result over Nigeria’s Muideen Akanji.

“The first round was always going to be cagey,” said Darren. “He was trying to find his distance with me, I’m trying to break him down. The second I was starting to get the distance a bit more. We started working a little bit more downstairs because he was quite tall. I’m a tall middleweight but he’s taller than me.

“Once we got a few shots in, we were able break him down a little bit more. I knew the last round was just a matter of matching him and not giving away too many silly scores.”

After beating Puerto Rico’s Enrique Collazo 18-10, Germany’s Stefan Hartel will box O’Neill in the next stage.

The US team opened their account with two excellent wins. Their 56 kgs Joseph Diaz contested the first bout of the Olympic tournament against his opposite number on Ukraine’s strong team, Pavlo Ishchenko. Diaz was a class act throughout. The American southpaw stabbed his rear left hand over. As Ishchenko offloaded heavy hooks, Diaz worked in combination, his lead uppercut shifting the Ukrainian’s head appreciably.

Ishchenko drove his right through and thumped across a left hook. But Diaz whipped in quality uppercuts with his rear left hand. Neither man was too mobile on his toes but the American hit Pavlo back in the last round, punishment starting to tell. By the end Diaz was bringing him on to his cross, showing power in close and taking it 19-9.

“He was really tough, really strong. I felt his power but I knew my conditioning is very good and I knew that I was going to get him tired and that’s what I ended up doing, picking him apart. I felt like I hurt him and like he was getting more and more tired. I just kept the pressure on him,” reflected Joseph.

“It was my speed. He probably thought I was a little slower than usual. I was picking my left hand because I knew that he was looking for my body shots. Every fight in the Olympic Games is going to be the biggest fight of my life. I just knew I had stay focused.”

On getting the tournament and the Americans off the mark he said, “Giving the whole team USA a boost now. They’re motivated even more. Everybody was already motivated because they wanted to get that medal. They’re going to be ready,” Diaz pledged.

American middleweight Terrell Gausha was up against a genuinely difficult prospect in Andranik Hakobyan, who qualified at the Worlds in Baku, where through being Armenian (and through no fault of his own, I hasten to add) Hakobyan was the most hated man in the stadium.

At once Andranik was jabbing fast, setting up a right hand. Gausha blasted the same shot back and the crowd had warmed to the contest. Long straight punches from Hakobyan kept him off but power shots from the American still bombed through.

If the Armenian needed another warning shot, Terrell dropped another right on his chin at the start of the second round. Hakobyan curled in a left hook to maintain his slender, one-point lead. The American charged him at the start of the last session, dragging Andranik into a firefight. The touches of greater accuracy were from Hakobyan, his left hook ushering in his right hand.

Gausha remained wild but his strength came through when he needed it. His right arched over, cutting a line through Andranik’s jaw, who tumbled to the canvas, his legs loose beneath him. The clock however was running down. Gausha needed to pounce. The left hook he uncorked was the shot, blasting Hakobyan off his feet. The Armenian staggered up, had his balance back with no time left on the counter. But the referee’s job is to look at the boxer’s wellbeing, not the clock. It was a good call from Mik Basi to stop the contest.

“I felt it was a close fight and it was a little bit too close for comfort, so I thought I had to go for it,” said Gausha. “I wanted to leave it all in the ring. I didn’t want to have any excuses. This is definitely a confidence booster but it is just the first fight.”

India’s famed middleweight Vijender Singh hit good form against Kazakhstan’s Danabek Suzhanov. From long range Singh’s right struck. Suzhanov dug out a right uppercut but Vijender slotted his right hook round the Kazakh’s guard.

Danabek cannoned forward, chopping down a series of short shots. The Indian tied him up, before finding his range once again. He snuck in an uppercut then scraped his left hook across. In the third Singh stayed mobile, Duzhanov tracking him. Active, on his toes, Vijender launched a lead left and took the win 14-10.

“He was a good boxer so I am pleased I finally beat him,” said Singh. “I hope London is lucky for me. I got an Olympic bronze last time and hope to do better here.”

Other big guns in action at 75 kgs were Uzbekistan’s former two-weight World champion Abbos Atoev, who outpointed Morocco’s Badr-Eddine Haddioui 11-9 and Turkey’s European silver medallist Adem Kilicci looked sharp defeating Turkmenistan’s Nursahat Pazziyev 14-7.

South London’s young, only 17, Isaac Dogboe came so close to becoming the heart-warming story of day one. Still at school, he took the chance to represent Ghana, making it through the African qualifier to London 2012. To emphasise his role as underdog he had Japan’s towering bantamweight Satoshi Shimizu. Yet plucky Dogboe performed, darting in and out, slinging his fists to Shimizu’s head and keeping his hands up.

He led for the first two rounds but by the last had given so much he simply had nothing left. Satoshi put it on him, nicking it 10-9.

“I could have done better,” Isaac lamented. “I’m very gutted. I’m only 17 and I hope next time I get here it’ll be different. Three years in boxing and I’m at the Olympic level.

“This is a very big achievement. It’s a very big opportunity and it’s a very big thing also to be here, to see the great fighters. I hope one day in the future I’ll be back.”

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July 26, 2017
July 26, 2017

Action Images

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TURMOIL has wracked the leadership of AIBA, the governing body for Olympic boxing, as president Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu resists calls to step down.

An AIBA Executive Committee meeting was held from July 24-25 in Moscow, where reportedly a no confidence vote in the president was held. The Guardian reports that 13 executive committee members voted to pass a motion of no confidence in Dr. Wu (with two abstentions).

The dispute has erupted after claims of financial mismanagement are rumoured to threaten the organisation with bankruptcy. Hong Kong based entity FCIT are disputing a substantial investment in the organisation’s beleaguered Boxing Marketing Arm, while AIBA must also address the repayment of a $10 million loan from Azeri company Benkons.

Dr. Wu has condemned the challenge to his position as “political manoeuvring” and has given no indication that he will step down. Instead an Extraordinary Congress with AIBA’s member federations to address these issues will be held in the next three months.

In a statement AIBA insisted that AIBA’s alleged responsibility to repay FCIT’s $19 million investment was “groundless” and said that a financial audit from KPMG had been approved.

Dr. Wu responded to his opposition, declaring, “In my position as this organisation’s president, a voluntary role for which I claim no salary, AIBA since Rio 2016 has undertaken to instigate a new era for boxing based on its key values of integrity and transparency and the difficult decisions that come with such duties. This policy has already seen us able to scale up our events and bring in new sponsors and partners. These two days of intensive meetings have truly confirmed the positive direction that AIBA has taken over the past ten months, but the emergence of a negative faction within the Executive Committee that appears to be bent on creating a false narrative in the media is undermining the organisation’s attempts to move boxing forward. I was elected by and work for over 100 National Federations, not 13 members of the Executive Committee.

“Over the past two days, this faction’s focus on political manoeuvring rather than the dynamic presentations that have shown the bright future of our sport speaks volumes about their priorities, but nonetheless important decisions were made that leave me with the responsibility to build this new age for boxing. When members of the Executive Committee threaten to walk out of their meeting before having heard the financial audit and reports they requested, it makes me question their motives for being on the Executive Committee of a sport they claim to love, while focusing on personal agendas and privileges. These individuals have been on the powerful Executive Committee for years and have been integral in all decision-making. The indifference they have shown to the development of boxing has been in marked contrast to the unity and hard work shown by AIBA staff.

AIBA has a slate of serious issues to address. The IOC has instructed the number of men’s weight divisions to be cut by two for the next Olympic Games, reduced from 10 to eight while two new women’s divisions will be created for Tokyo 2020. AIBA must decide how to implement this and which events will be axed from the next Olympics.

The organisation has also had to face the fall out of a controversial Rio 2016. All the Olympic referees and judges were suspended after a sequence of disputed officiating decisions, like Russian heavyweight Evgeniy Tishchenko getting a points win in the 91kgs final and Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin’s notorious decision win over Michael Conlan in their 56kgs quarter-final. Some changes have since been made to the judging system.


AIBA have still awarded some significant upcoming events to Russia. Moscow will host the 2018 AIBA Congress and Russia gets a key tournament in the Olympic cycle with AIBA also announcing that the 2019 men’s World championships will go to Sochi.

The 2018 women’s World championships will take place in Trabzon, Turkey, while New Delhi in India will host the 2019 women’s World championships and the 2021 men’s World championships.

July 22, 2017
July 22, 2017

Action Images/REUTERS/Matthew Childs

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AIBA, the world governing body for Olympic boxing, has addressed claims of financial mismanagement.

In a report the Guardian alleges AIBA “risks bankruptcy” as an Azeri company seeks repayment of a $10 million loan and a dispute emerges over investments made by Hong Kong firm FCIT in AIBA’s beleaguered Boxing Marketing Arm, known as the BMA.

In a statement AIBA has insisted that they have agreed a repayment plan with Benkons MMC, the Azeri investor, saying, “Benkons MMC had never claimed any payment from AIBA nor called upon the guarantee contained in the Investment Agreement until its letter dated July 19, 2017. Benkons and AIBA in fact had reached an agreement in which AIBA assumes the obligation to reimburse the loan and Benkons MMC agrees to a repayment schedule. Benkons’ lawyers reviewed this Settlement Agreement and expressly approved its content on all the essential features.”

AIBA also stated that “the BMA financial crisis results from several factors and all strategic decisions were approved by all BMA Board members including Mr. Wu Di [the FCIT chairman]. The FCIT loan against BMA is subordinated to all un-subordinated debt of BMA and asserts that, in case of bankruptcy, the loan is waived to the extent the liquidation proceeds are not sufficient to repay it. We are confident of the validity of the document as discussed with our lawyers and auditors.”

AIBA has a slate of issues to address. Olympic boxing was rocked by a succession of controversial decisions at Rio 2016 which ultimately led to all the referees and judges from the Rio Games being suspended and some changes being made to the current judging system.

A new look for the boxing tournament is also on the horizon for the next Olympic Games. A further shake up in the sport is coming when, in an unexpected move, this year the International Olympic Committee instructed AIBA to drop two men’s weight classes from Tokyo 2020 to create two new women’s divisions for the next Olympic Games.

June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
GB boxers

Greg Woodward/GB Boxing

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A HISTORIC day at the EUBC European Boxing Championships in Kharkiv in Ukraine saw GB boxers win seven out of eight semi-finals and secure a place in tomorrow’s gold medal matches.

It is the best performance ever by a GB Boxing team at a European Championships and surpasses the achievement of the boxers that competed at the 2015 event in Bulgaria, where the team contested five finals and won six medals in total.

All seven of the boxers in tomorrow’s finals are from England and have the chance to emulate the achievement of Luke Campbell who won the bantamweight title in 2008 to become the first Englishman since 1961 to be crowned European Champion.

Tomorrow’s finals will be shown live from 2.00pm on the BBC Sport website and connected TV ( with commentary by Ronald McIntosh and Richie Woodhall.

Light-flyweight, Galal Yafai, got the team off to a great start with a split-decision win over Carmona Heredia of Spain.

He was quickly joined in tomorrow’s finals by Liverpool’s Peter McGrail who dominated Spain’s Jose Quiles Brotons to secure a unanimous win at bantamweight.

Luke McCormack completed a hat-trick of wins for Great Britain with a narrow victory over London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, Evaldas Patrauskas of Lithuania, in the light-welterweight bout.

Rookie heavyweight, Cheavon Clarke, made it four wins out of four as he outpointed a far more experienced boxer in third seed, Roy Korving of Holland, to continue his amazing run and cap a glorious first session for GB Boxing.

The man from Gravesham in Kent was only promoted to the GB Boxing squad in the spring of 2017 and has surpassed all expectations in his first major tournament, having also stopped the 2015 world championship bronze medallist, Abdulkadir Abdullayev of Azerbaijan, in his quarter-final.

The early evening session saw boxers from Great Britain continue to dominate their opponents as Birmingham’s Niall Farrell kicked things off with a win over Ireland’s Brendan Irvine to reach the flyweight final.

Pat McCormack showed all his class to beat the home nation’s Ievgenii Barabanov to join twin brother Luke in tomorrow’s final and earn the opportunity to improve on the silver medal he won in Bulgaria in 2015.

Much to the relief of the home crowd, Great Britain’s only defeat on the day eventually came against a Ukrainian boxer as Calum French lost out to Yuri Shestak in the lightweight contest.

The Birtley ABC boxer was disappointed not to join club mates Pat and Luke McCormack in tomorrow’s finals but can be very happy with winning a bronze medal in his first appearance at a major international tournament.

It was left to Frazer Clarke to cap a historic and triumphant day for England and as he continued GB Boxing’s tradition of producing top-class super-heavyweights by earning a split decision win over Djamili-Dini Aboudou-Moindze of France to make the final in his first ever major international tournament.

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Video: AIBA

June 13, 2017
June 13, 2017
European championships

World Series of Boxing

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THE European championships begin in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Wednesday (June 14). This will be a crucial test for the continent’s boxers as they need to reach the quarter-finals to qualify for the World championships later this year.

The GB team, who will compete as England, Wales and Scotland is as follows:

Galal Yafai (England, 49kgs)

Niall Farrell (England, 52kgs)

Peter McGrail (England, 56kgs)

Lee McGregor (Scotland, 56kgs)

Calum French (England, 60kgs)

Luke McCormack (England, 64kgs)

Pat McCormack (England, 69kgs)

Ben Whittaker (England, 75kgs)

John Docherty (Scotland, 75kgs)

Tom Whittaker Hart (England, 81kgs)

Cheavon Clarke (England, 91kgs)

Scott Forrest (England, 91kgs)

Frazer Clarke (England, 91&kgs)

The Irish squad is:

52kg – Flyweight – Brendan Irvine (St Pauls)

56kg – Bantamweight –  Kurt Walker (Canal)

60kg – Lightweight – Patrick Mongan (Olympic)

64kg – Light-welter – Sean McComb (Holy Trinity)

69kg – Welterweight – Steven Donnelly (All Saints)

75kg – Middleweight – Emmett Brennan (Glasnevin)

81kg – Light-heavy – Joe Ward (Moate)

91kg – Heavyweight – Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)

91+kg – Super-heavy – Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)

Speaking to Boxing News, GB Boxing performance director Rob McCracken looked ahead to the tournament. “It’s always difficult. There’s been some difficult decisions to make,” he said. “Myself and the coaches are always looking to pick who we feel is the best boxer at that point. There’s no guarantee you’ll stay that boxer. We’ve seen it before where boxers have gone to a major tournament for GB but then the next major tournament a different boxer’s gone at their weight and sometimes people get surprised by that. It’s just done on form, it’s just done on who’s performing at that time and who’s in the best position to go and do well at a tournament. It’s top level boxing so all tournaments are hard and the draw is tough sometimes.

GB Boxing

“It’s a four year cycle, everyone gets the chance to stake their claim and show what they can do. If you miss out in a major and your form’s good and you keep working hard then you’ll get the opportunity at some point to prove yourself at another major.

“It’s the first time we have to go to a situation where you have to go to one tournament to qualify for a World championships. All of the boxers going to Ukraine will be trying to qualify for the Worlds but there’s not a second chance. You look at it in the previous cycle to qualify for Qatar you went to the European Games and the European championships. This time you just go to the European championships.

“You need the rub of the green, you need to perform well, you could do with not too stiff a draw in the early part of the tournament. It’s elite boxing, it’s the best in Europe. It’s always tough.”

For more from Rob McCracken, Pat McCormack and Ben Whittaker don’t miss this week’s issue of Boxing News magazine