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Russian Official Offers $16 Million To Help Keep Boxing In Tokyo Olympics

Boxing could be left out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics because of a dispute between the IOC and world amateur boxing's governing body.

A Russian boxing official has offered to pay the $16 million debt of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) if Olympic organizers keep the sport in the 2020 Tokyo games.

Umar Kremlev, a member of the AIBA executive committee, stated the offer in a letter made public on March 28 to officials of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who are investigating allegations against the AIBA.

The AIBA is world amateur boxing's governing body, based in Switzerland and formerly known as the Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur.

Kremlev, who has indicated he is interested in running for the AIBA presidency, said he was "ready to close the debts of AIBA in full so long as our favorite sport remains on the Olympic program."

"I would like to do this for boxing to remain in the Olympic movement and so that financial problems are no longer one of the reasons why the future of boxing would be under threat," he said.

He plans to use his personal funds to wipe out AIBA's debt, a Boxing Federation of Russia official told Inside the Games website.

The IOC has put on hold planning for the Tokyo 2020 boxing tournament in a move that could see the AIBA frozen out of the Olympic Games.

The AIBA has said it has made "great progress" in ensuring its operations meet all requirements and has complained that the IOC's actions are leaving boxers worldwide in "limbo."

"While AIBA has provided not one, but four comprehensive reports over the course of the last year to the IOC [executive board] for review, it is very surprising that the IOC are unable to provide a conclusive decision regarding boxing’s Olympic future at this time," the association said on its website.

The AIBA has been in turmoil for years, and the IOC has warned the Swiss-based body to sort out its finances and governance, as well as anti-doping issues, or risk missing out on Tokyo.

A final decision on AIBA's participating in the Tokyo Olympics is expected on May 22.

The dispute between the AIBA and IOC intensified when Gafur Rakhimov was elected its president in November.

Rakhimov is on a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list for alleged links to international heroin trafficking. The sanctions bar U.S. citizens and companies from doing business with him. Rakhimov denies wrongdoing.

Rakhimov, an Uzbek, on March 22 said he was stepping aside amid the dispute with the IOC to let an interim leader take over. It was not immediately clear if he would seek to be reinstated after the IOC investigations are completed.

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Inside the Games
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