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Probe launched into possible corruption at Rio 2016

Joe Joyce at Rio 2016
YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images
AIBA open investigation into questionable activity at the Rio 2016 Olympics, headed by Richard McLaren

AIBA will launch a probe into possible corruption at the last Olympic Games. It will be led by Professor Richard McLaren of McLaren Global Sport Solutions, who is known for his investigation into allegations of state-sponsored doping by the Russian Federation.

The investigation into the boxing at Rio 2016 will take place in two phases, starting with the refereeing and judging at that tournament and then the activity of the individuals involved in the management and administration of AIBA, to determine if there have been acts of corruption.

“Boxing has a long history of questionable activities. There have been multiple past investigations into the sport that have either not been completed or acted upon. It is time for boxing to turn the page, but it cannot do so without a full accounting of any alleged misconduct,” McLaren said. “Our team will conduct an independent investigation into the questions surrounding corruption or manipulation of sporting results during the Rio Olympic Games, identify the persons responsible and recommend the appropriate course of action.”

In the International Olympic Committee report which saw AIBA suspended from administering Olympic boxing officiating irregularities were identified as one of the reasons AIBA was suspended. It’s hoped that this investigation will be an important step forward.

“Boxing was created when rules were introduced to ensure fair fights. Any undermining of those rules is unacceptable. For some time, it has been clear that AIBA could do more in following up on allegations of unfairness. Unfortunately, in order to move to a brighter future, we must now also shine a light on AIBA’s past,” said AIBA President Umar Kremlev. “The best way to do this is to bring in independent experts to uncover any wrongdoing so that we can learn any lessons that need to be learned and restore confidence. Professor McLaren has an unparalleled track record when it comes to sporting investigations and I encourage everyone in the world of boxing who may have evidence of interest to step forward and share it with McLaren and his team.”

The first stage of the report is expected to be released in August of this year.

Rio 2016 was particularly contentious. The draw in the tournament seemed questionable. During the Games the five star, i.e. the leading referees and judges, were stood down and later all the judges from those Olympics were stood down. An unwelcome “axis of influence” was also reported to have been found at those Games.

Boxers who were on the receiving end of the most controversial decisions at Rio 2016 will hope to see those results overturned. Joe Joyce, for instance, for most observers was highly unlucky to see the decision go against him in Tony Yoka’s favour in the Olympic super-heavyweight final. He would like to see his silver medal upgraded to gold. “Keep researching it and also have a look at the punch output and the stats on the fight. Then you’ll get your answer who was the winner,” Joyce said. “I thought there might have been some shenanigans.”

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