Sunday, June 04, 2023  |



AIBA reassigns executive director as controversy swirls in Rio

Fighters Network
Russia’s Evgeny Tishchenko lands on Kazakhstan’s Vassily Levit. Photo courtesy of AIBA.

Russia’s Evgeny Tishchenko lands on Kazakhstan’s Vassily Levit. Photo courtesy of AIBA.

The fallout from the controversy surrounding a number of puzzling decisions in Olympic boxing in Rio continued on Thursday as AIBA announced that executive director Karim Bouzidi had been reassigned in an attempt to ensure a “level playing field and a fair and transparent sport.”

On Wednesday, the beleaguered organization removed an undisclosed number of judges and referees from the remainder of the tournament after deciding that a “handful of decisions were not at the level expected.”

Senior VP of AIBA’s executive board Franco Falcinelli, who is also president of the European Boxing Confederation, has now assumed the operational responsibilities “for the remainder of the Olympic Boxing Competition,” AIBA said in a statement on Thursday. The reorganization was made by AIBA vice presidents and executive board members, the statement said. AIBA “remains fully committed to a zero tolerance policy towards fair play in boxing always acting in the boxers’ utmost interest.”

But a number of bizarre decisions in Rio don’t exactly reflect that message. Russia’s Evgeny Tishchenko decision victory over Kazakhstan’s Vassiliy Levit in the heavyweight gold-medal match is regarded as one of the worst decisions in recent Olympic boxing memory.

Another bout that has drawn attention is Ireland’s Michael Conlan’s loss to Russian Vladimir Nikitin. Conlan took AIBA to task afterward, giving the judges the finger in the ring and later alleging the fight was fixed. He wrote on Twitter that Russian president Vladimir Putin had bribed AIBA in his bout.