By Dan Palmer (insidethegames.biz)
Gafur Rakhimov has said his election as International Boxing Federation (AIBA) President is an “important step forward” despite the sport’s Olympic future now being at risk.
The Uzbek defeated sole rival Serik Konakbayev in an election at the AIBA Congress in Moscow yesterday, receiving 86 out of 134 second round votes to claim an overwhelming victory.
It means that AIBA delegates ignored a clear warning from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that electing Rakhimov – described as “one of Uzbekistan’s leading criminals” – could see the organisation suspended.
“The IOC has made it clear from the outset that there are issues of grave concern with AIBA regarding judging, finance, the anti-doping programme and with governance – which includes but is not limited to the election of the AIBA President,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said following the verdict yesterday.
Rakhimov denies any wrongdoing and has claimed to have “listened and learned” from the Olympic Movement.
He has suggested that he could step aside as President for a limited period to avoid putting the sport’s Olympic place at Tokyo 2020 in jeopardy.
“Today has been a great day for AIBA and it represents an important step forward for boxing,” the Uzbek said in a statement released this morning.