Suspicion surrounds boxing decisions at 2016 Rio Olympics
An internal investigation by amateur boxing's world body Aiba has raised serious questions about the judging at the 2016 Rio Olympics, with particular suspicion falling on a French official, French newspaper Le Monde reported yesterday.
France basked in the glow of six boxing medals in Rio, including golds for super-heavyweight Tony Yoka and his now wife Estelle Mossely.
But three days before the end of the Olympic tournament, boxing federation Aiba removed its then executive director Karim Bouzidi from his role because he was accused of favouring fighters from certain countries, according to Le Monde's report.
Le Monde, which carried out the investigation with Bulgarian newspaper Bulgaria Today, said it had seen the internal Aiba report and e-mails that showed the body was concerned Bouzidi had influenced the decisions of so-called five-star judges in Olympic bouts.
An e-mail from Aiba's then-president Wu Ching-kuo dated Nov 18, 2016 said the body suspected Bouzidi of acting with another senior official to influence the judges, in particular those featuring boxers from France and Uzbekistan. Bouzidi did not reply to AFP's request for a comment yesterday.
Aiba's internal investigation found that Bouzidi had the power to appoint the referees and officials for competitions, but added there was no direct proof that these changes influenced the results of fights.
Bouzidi's arrival in the senior Aiba ranks coincided with France trying to improve their Olympic boxing, after disappointing results at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games.
Boxing is already facing the threat of expulsion from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Its inclusion depends on an investigation into Aiba by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Controversial Ukzbek businessman Gafur Rakhimov, who the US Treasury Department has linked to "transnational criminal organisations", stepped down as Aiba president on Friday.
Rakhimov insists the allegations against him are "politically motivated lies".
Relations between the IOC and Aiba were hit hard at the 2016 Rio Olympics, when 36 officials and referees were suspended amid allegations of bout fixing. - AFP