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Cammarelle claims Anthony Joshua shouldn’t have won Olympic final

Anthony Joshua
Roberto Cammarelle hasn’t forgotten or forgiven his Olympic loss to Anthony Joshua, writes John Dennen

ROBERTO CAMMARELLE doesn’t think Olympic gold medals should be reallocated, but he does believe he beat Anthony Joshua in the super-heavyweight final at London 2012.

“Wrongful decisions did have an impact. The two against [Alexander] Povetkin, the two against Joshua and that actually led to AIBA losing credibility. So the new AIBA has to regain credibility. It has to convince the IOC from now on we’re going to be a credible association. We have to regain that trust. It won’t be easy. We’ll have to train the refs and the judges so that they won’t be involved in unfair decisions again,” he said.

Cammarelle is now happily retired. He no longer competes yet he still thinks of vengeance. “To be honest still today I’d be happy to fight against Anthony Joshua. If anyone asks me to do so, I’ll do it right away. I’m fed up with training, I’m no longer prepared to do so and my body’s no longer prepared to do so. I would only do it for the sake of revenge, not for medals or a championship. And still today I believe I can win. Although he’s become a very different boxer,” he added.

Boxing News was ringside for both of his amateur bouts with Joshua, and didn’t consider either decision unjust. But generally international governing body AIBA has been mired in bad decisions and controversial judging. That reached a particular nadir at the 2016 Olympics. AIBA, under new president Umar Kremlev has announced an independent probe into possible past corrupt practices, headed by respected investigator Professor Richard McLaren and his McLaren Global Sports Solutions research group. Cammarelle, a great Olympian and super-heavyweight gold medallist in 2008 himself, is supporting this anti-corruption drive. Currently AIBA is suspended from running the boxing tournament at the Tokyo Games, due to its governance and officiating. But the former champion hopes these reforming efforts will bring the body back into the Olympics.

“AIBA absolutely has to organise the Olympics again,” Cammarelle said. “[Kremlev] apparently was moved by what I told him and asked me to help him, along with Roy Jones, to enter this new organisation and support this new process. I couldn’t say no.

“I’m deeply concerned because the continental and the world tournaments are fantastic but they’re just paving the way to the ultimate championship, which is the Olympics. So for everyone that’s a dream come true. And if we’re not the ones who organise it, it’s definitely not the same. For a lot of countries, including Italy, not taking part in the Olympics also means not getting enough financing. And if you don’t get financing, that would be terrible.”

But Cammarelle doesn’t believe he should be re-awarded another Olympic gold medal. “I don’t believe so. I wouldn’t like that to happen either. What’s gone is gone. However I expect the future to be different and that from now on medals be awarded following a full verification of the verdict and this has already happened earlier this month at the under 22 European championships,” he said.

Professor Ulrich Haas, who is currently leading the governance reform of the World Anti-Doping Agency, will also chair an independent Governance Reform Group comprising legal and governance experts. AIBA have also stated that they are finalising an agreement with a major accounting firm to conduct a full audit of the federation’s finances. AIBA president Kremlev insists, “AIBA is working on becoming a welcoming, strong and stable home for boxers around the world. We have appointed the best independent experts to guide us towards the highest standards of governance and sports integrity.”

The probe into corruption promises to be significant. “I would not have taken the project on unless I was granted full independence,” McLaren affirmed. “We have the right in this particular investigation to publish our report in full.”

McLaren Global Sports Solutions is calling for anyone with information or any whistle-blowers to come forward and contribute to their investigation in confidence. They can be contacted on IndependentAIBAEnquiry@mgsportsolutions.com.

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