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.