Fears of a split in world amateur boxing

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association delegation at the International Boxing Association (AIBA) presidential election in Moscow, left to right) Chief Executive Officer Fergal Carruth, IABA secretary Art O'Brien, and IABA president Dominic O'Rourke along with Serik Konakbayev (second from right) in Moscow

SERIK Konakbayev has vowed that Saturday’s defeat in the International Boxing Association (AIBA) presidential election in Moscow is just a first round reversal and the fight to save boxing’s Olympic future will continue.

The Kazakh, who is due to meet the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne this week, was beaten by Uzbekistan’s Gafur Rakhimov who received 86 of the 134 votes from the world's National Boxing Federations.

It is understood that Konakbayev is positioning himself as a candidate to lead to lead a new AIBA which could be re-branded under a new name.

“This is not the end but the start of a movement to reform the world governing body and save boxing. Round one is over, the bell for round two is chiming,” said Konaakbayev, an Olympic, World and European boxing medallist with the former USSR.

The IOC had previously warned that if Rakhimov (who has been linked to organised crime, a claim which he has denied) was elected that the sport could be booted out of the Olympics and AIBA suspended.

The IOC has since rowed back on the Olympic threat, saying that they want to protect the Olympic dreams of young boxers, but the suspension of AIBA in its current form is a very real possibility.

Rakhimov, who has denied all accusation of criminality, had planned to step aside onto the AIBA Executive for a year if elected to allow their relationship with the IOC improve, but this was rejected by delegates in Moscow on Thursday.

"Today has been a great day for AIBA and it represents an important step forward for boxing," said the Uzbek after his election.

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association were represented by its President Dominic O’Rourke, CEO Fergal Carruth and Secretary Art O’Brien in Moscow.

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