Underdog candidate fights for boxing’s Olympic future

first_imgThe candidate in Saturday’s presidential vote at AIBA Serik Konakbayev speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. The IOC has hinted it could refuse to recognize AIBA if the other candidate, incumbent interim president Gafur Rakhimov, wins, as he is on a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list for alleged ties to organized crime and international heroin trafficking, although he denies wrongdoing. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)MOSCOW — With boxing’s Olympic future on the line, Serik Konakbayev will fight to save his sport.The one-time Olympic silver medalist from Kazakhstan is the underdog candidate in Saturday’s presidential vote at AIBA, the amateur boxing federation locked in conflict with the International Olympic Committee, which hasn’t decided whether boxing will be on the 2020 Olympic program.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? The IOC hinted it could refuse to recognize AIBA if incumbent interim president Gafur Rakhimov, the other candidate, wins. Rakhimov is on a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list for alleged ties to organized crime and international heroin trafficking but has denied wrongdoing.“If he wins, the IOC will take a tough decision which won’t make us happy,” Konakbayev told the Associated Press, referring to Rakhimov. “We could lose participation as an Olympic sport in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. That’s the scariest thing and we should all think about that.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissKonakbayev, 59, held back from personal criticism of Rakhimov, saying he was merely relaying the IOC’s concerns.“Mr. Rakhimov has been in AIBA for a long time, he loves boxing and Mr. Rakhimov wants to make boxing better,” he said, but added: “I think that the doubts which the IOC has expressed are not groundless, so as an organization, we need to take it all seriously and be ready to avoid these consequences.” Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Konakbayev said he was there with IOC president Thomas Bach and “saw his concern and disappointment. I don’t think that makes our sport look good.”AIBA’s signature reform for 2016 — letting pro fighters into the Olympic ring with amateurs — was a failed experiment, Konakbayev said.“As an Olympian myself, who represented the Soviet Union on the world stage, I think it may be too early. Amateur and professional boxing are two different cultures,” he said. “You can host some exhibition fights, but the Olympics in Rio showed that professional boxing isn’t ready to be part of the Olympics.”None of the three pros who fought in Rio were big names, and none won a medal.Konakbayev is cautious about his chances of winning Saturday’s vote against Rakhimov, who has a higher profile as interim president. Indeed, Konakbayev only made the ballot after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that his nominations were in fact valid despite an earlier attempt by AIBA to exclude him.Preparing for a last round of lobbying, Konakbayev is drawing on his boxing career for motivation.“Each candidate, when he goes to the vote, is always focused on victory,” he said. “As a former boxer, I’m focused only on winning.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Tokyo or bust Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title The IOC has suggested it could keep boxing on the 2020 program but remove a role for AIBA, though it’s not clear how that might work. AIBA’s financial woes could deepen if it loses its cut of Olympic TV money. The IOC did not let Rakhimov, who is based in Dubai, attend the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires last month.Konakbayev, a former politician in his native Kazakhstan and amateur boxing’s top official in Asia, said the sport is “sliding backwards” and losing viewers to mixed martial arts.Since Konakbayev fought in the 1980 Olympics, in which he finished second in the light welterweight division, “we’ve lost the spice and popularity of boxing,” he said. Mixed martial arts promotions are luring viewers and talented young fighters with their superior showmanship, he argued, while boxing struggles with financial problems, infighting and “wrong decisions by judges.”Olympic boxing has long been dogged by controversial judging, and at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, AIBA sent home referees and judges who it said had fallen short.The crowd in Rio booed Russia’s Evgeny Tishchenko after he won a gold medal by a unanimous decision over Kazakhstan’s Vasily Levit despite Levit appearing the more aggressive fighter. Irish bantamweight Michael Conlan also profanely objected to a quarterfinal loss to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin and accused AIBA and Russia of corruption.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal View comments Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazillast_img read more

Top Stories

first_img Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The Cardinals chose to receive and four plays later won the game 26-20.“Clete had it on heads,” Rodgers said. “He was showing heads, so I called tails and it didn’t flip. It was just tossed in the air and did not turn over at all and landed on the ground. So we obviously thought that was not right. He picked the coin up and flipped it to tails, and he flipped it to tails and he flipped it without giving me a chance to make a recall there. It was confusing.”“Yeah, it was odd,” Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer said. “He went to flip the coin, and it just went up and went down.”It was certainly an unexpected turn of events in a game that featured more than its fair share of crazy plays.“No, especially on that beautiful grass,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said when asked if he’s ever seen a coin flip like that. Arians never got an explanation for what exactly happened, but given how things transpired, he probably won’t require one.Whether or not the Packers got a raw deal will likely depend on your rooting interests. It’s clear from the video the coin never made a single end-over-end rotation and needed to be tossed again, though if Rodgers was going to base his call on what side of the coin was facing up pre-flip, then it’s understandable why he might be a bit miffed. Now that it’s over, has anyone ever seen a coin toss like this? #GBvsAZ pic.twitter.com/zpRkYc217A— Chris Clark (@ChrisClark_) January 17, 2016Packers captain Aaron Rodgers called “tails” just before the coin was sent flying into the air and before hit the turf without ever flipping. There was some confusing upon its landing, and upon a re-flip, the coin came up “heads” again. Comments   Share   Packers coach Mike McCarthy seemed to be at peace with the flip(s), while Arians was understandably pleased.“I don’t know what happened with the coin toss,” he said. “I’m glad he flipped it the second time. I think we had it the first time, too.” – / 40 GLENDALE, Ariz. — It is supposed to be one of the easiest things an official has to do during a football game. Yet the tossing of the coin heading into overtime of the Cardinals and Packers NFC Divisional Round game led to some controversy Saturday at University of Phoenix Stadium.Referee Clete Blakeman had some issues with getting the darned thing to flip. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more