Accessibility links

Breaking News

Controversial Uzbek Businessman Elected Head Of Amateur Boxing Federation

Gafur Rakhimov

An Uzbek businessman with alleged ties to organized crime has been elected president of the amateur boxing federation (AIBA), despite fears that his appointment could lead to the sport's ejection from the Olympics.

Gafur Rakhimov won 86 of the 134 valid votes at the AIBA congress in Moscow on November 3 to beat his only opponent, former boxer Serik Konakbaev of Kazakhstan.

Rakhimov is on a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list for alleged links to international heroin trafficking.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had criticized Rakhimov's bid to become head of the AIBA, as well as controversial judging at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The sanctions bar U.S. citizens and companies from doing business with him. Rakhimov denies wrongdoing.

There was speculation ahead of the vote that boxing could be kicked out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics program should Rakhimov be elected.

The IOC could host an Olympic boxing tournament without the AIBA, cutting off the financially troubled federation from a key funding source.

The IOC said in a statement that AIBA will be on the agenda at the next IOC executive board meeting in Tokyo, starting November 30.

Rakhimov sought to downplay tensions with the IOC, saying “boxing will definitely be on the Tokyo Olympic games program… just like any future Olympic games.”

Rakhimov had served as AIBA's interim president since January.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa