The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) has clarified its stance in last weekend’s election for president of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), stating they voted for the defeated Kazak candidate Serik Konakbayev.
Gafur Rakhimov won the election, despite the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) “grave concern” over his suitability to hold the position due to his links to organised crime in his native Uzbekistan; Rakhimov secured 86 of the 134 votes cast by national member federations in Moscow last Saturday, enough to seal the presidency against Konakbayev, the sole other candidate.
The IABA was represented in Moscow by a three-man delegation including Fergal Carruth, the IABA chief executive and brother of 1992 Olympic boxing gold medallist Michael, president Dominic O’Rourke and secretary Art O’Brien.
In a statement released on Friday, they said: “It is unusual for the IABA, as is the case with most national federations, to reveal how they voted in an election but given the intense commentary surrounding this particular election it was felt by the Board of Directors and Central Council, that it was in the best interests of Irish boxing to do so in this instance.
“It is Central Council that decide how the IABA vote is to be cast in all AIBA elections and as always, the vote is utilised so as to best further and protect the interests of boxing as a sport. Our decision was made following careful consideration of what was in the best interests of the sport and without any further information on the president (Rakhimov) other than that what we have learned through the media.
“The IABA remain concerned about the future Olympic status of boxing given the outcome of the election particularly, given that boxing remains Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport ever. We acknowledge that there remains significant confusion in the aftermath of the AIBA election but are hopeful that the IOC and AIBA can reach resolution on the issues between them. The IABA is committed to assisting in any way possible to achieve that end.”
Sport Ireland has also expressed concern over the increasing threat of boxing being excluded from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and called for clarification from IOC. The standoff between the AIBA and the IOC has been brewing all year: the IOC first suspended AIBA funding last December, worth some $17.3 million post Rio 2016, and have made repeated calls on the need for proper reform on governance, finance, referring and anti-doping.