With less than four days to go until the start of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, a cloud of speculation over boxing at the quadrennial Summer Games has surfaced with a British newspaper reporting that many bouts could be fixed. According to the Guardian, judges and referees are allegedly involved in manipulating draws and bouts, though the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has dismissed them as 'rumours'.
The UK daily on Monday ran a story in which it said that "Senior figures within amateur boxing have warned many bouts, including those to decide medals, could be fixed at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro amid widespread concern about corruption and financial malpractice at the sport's global governing body" and added that "horrified senior officials within the sport believe a cabal of officials are able to use their power to manipulate the draw and the judging system to ensure certain boxers will win."
However, speaking to the same newspaper, an anonymous AIBA spokesman was quoted as saying: "Since June 2015, AIBA has undertaken major governance changes ensuring the long-term development of our sport according to the requirements of our business and sport partners and for the benefits of the AIBA worldwide community."
The report also claimed that other boxing officials the Guardian has spoken to referred to how the alleged corruption had "become more sophisticated and more widespread since the London Games."
"This is all being done very quietly," a senior source was quoted as saying. "Some bouts are so bloody blatant it's obvious. It sickens me to my stomach."
Another high-ranking source told the newspaper that he believed "the manipulation was directed from the heart of the AIBA administration" and that he had "witnessed scores being manipulated at major championships" and that he is "desperately concerned about what is likely to happen at the Rio Olympics."
Boxing is prone for fixing secretly. It cannot even be found out easily with the kind of scoring mechanism only at the endShiva Narayana
The Guardian report also included the account of Ireland judge Seamus Kelly, who claimed he had been asked to cheat at the 2011 Arab Games in Doha by indicating who was winning during the fight. Kelly said he had emailed the AIBA president Dr CK WU in April 2015 to raise the matter, as well as another that he had heard of in 2013, but that after getting a reply staying that the governing body would investigate the case, there had been no follow-up
Boxing at the Rio Games gets underway on August 6 with the preliminaries for the men's light flyweight, lightweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight events.