Boxing: report indicates manipulation of fight results in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics
Vladimir Nikitin

Some boxing matches at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games would have been manipulated, as determined by Canadian Richard McLaren at the request of the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

The fights at the Olympics held in Brazil showed clear signs of manipulation, according to the poll. In London, the investigation pointed out only evidence of fraud. The scheme could involve referees and judges.

McLaren reported the existence of a “culture of fear, intimidation and obedience” throughout the system involving referees. The investigator and his collaborators did not announce an exact amount, however, they cited 11 boxing matches handled in 2016 alone.

In the manipulation system, the authorities of the Alba itself organized referees and judges so that they could manipulate the fights. Thus, they were chosen to join the system, and informed at the Olympic selectives.

“This informal structure allowed for the complicity and consent of referees and judges, who were assigned to guarantee previously agreed results in specific bouts,” explained McLaren.

Without identifying the possible ones involved, the Canadian investigator reported that the judges and referees were advised on who should win hours before the start of the fight. The report has 149 pages.

One example would be a bribe of approximately 1.3 million reais offered to judges and referees so that a Mongolian boxer could beat his French opponent in the semifinals. The denunciation of this scheme was carried out by a witness, according to SportBuzz.

However, one of the main controversies in 2016 involved Irishman Michael Conlan, who in the quarterfinals of the 56 kg category dominated the match against Vladimir Nikitin. However, arbitration granted the Russian victory. But, the winner did not fight in the semifinals due to injuries generated by the opponent. At the time, the Irishman called the leaders cheaters.

Suspected Fight Manipulation in London 2012

McLaren’s poll also revealed the direct involvement of a former AIBA president in the manipulation of results before and after the 2012 Olympics. He is said to have instructed a director to ensure that Turkey’s fighters were in contention. The reason was because the country had organized a pre-Olympic season with strong financial investment.

In addition, the former president would have ordered Azerbaijani boxers not to get gold medals in boxing in London. At the time, the BBC produced a documentary that indicated that a company would have loaned a considerable amount to AIBA.

The leader headed the boxing entity and was part of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) until the year 2020. After that, Russian Umar Kremlev, who requested the investigation, took charge of the organization.

“AIBA has hired Professor McLaren because we have nothing to hide. We will also receive legal advice as to what actions are possible against those who participated in any manipulation,” Kremlev said.

Manipulation scheme threatens Olympic boxing

Since last year, AIBA has been suspended by the International Olympic Committee for participating in corruption crimes. Between 2017 and 2019, then presidents Wu Ching-Kuo of Taiwan and his deputy Gafur Rakhimov of Uzbekistan had to step down. This action only took place because they were under pressure from investigations and from the IOC.

However, the investigation coordinated by Richard McLaren is part of the entity’s image recovery strategy. In 2017, alleging that there was a concentration of decision-making power and undesirable influence, AIBA expelled the arbitrators considered more capable from its staff.

Despite this, he claimed that none of them were involved in match-fixing. This year, after allegations of corruption and financial irregularities, AIBA cannot organize boxing in Tokyo.

With the new information, there is fear that boxing will end up outside the Olympic program, starting with the Paris edition, in 2024. The tendency is for AIBA to collaborate with the investigation of the supposed scheme and the change in posture under the new management will help in a resumption of its relationship with the IOC.