Uzbek businessman who denies accusations from the US Treasury that he is one of Uzbekistan’s leading criminals with links to the global heroin trade has been elected president of Aiba, the amateur boxing federation, putting the sport on a collision course with the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC criticised Gafur Rakhimov’s bid to become head of Aiba, and it has yet to confirm boxing is on the programme for the 2020 Olympics. The IOC could host an Olympic boxing tournament without Aiba, cutting the financially troubled federation off from a key funding source.
Rakhimov, who beat Serik Konakbayev 86-48 in a vote on Saturday, is on a US Treasury sanctions list for alleged links to organised crime. The sanctions bar US citizens and companies from doing business with him. He has denied wrongdoing.
After the result, Konakbayev suggested that he could appeal against the decision. “I am obviously disappointed with the result but I remain committed to our sport and I promise to continue fighting for the future of Olympic boxing and the Olympic dreams of boxers everywhere,” Konakbayev told Inside the Games. “My team is reviewing the decision as well as the election process.