The International Boxing Association (AIBA) on Monday revealed major developments in its drive to reform boxing with the appointment of independent governance expert Professor Dr. Ulrich Haas and confirmation that a major independent financial audit will be conducted, in addition to Professor Richard McLaren’s independent investigation into refereeing and judging.
The announcement was made by AIBA President Umar Kremlev during a press conference in Lausanne and marks the latest steps by AIBA to uphold the highest standards in governance, financial integrity and sports integrity.
Professor Ulrich Haas – who is currently leading the governance reform of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) – will chair an independent Governance Reform Group comprising legal and governance experts. The Group will review AIBA’s current governance structures, assess these structures against international best practice and issue concrete recommendations for further improvement. Meanwhile, AIBA is in the process of finalizing an agreement with a major accounting firm to conduct an independent full-scope audit of the federation’s finances.
AIBA President Kremlev said:
“As I promised when elected AIBA president, AIBA is working on becoming a welcoming, strong and stable home for boxers around the world. We have appointed the best independent experts to guide us towards the highest standards of governance and sports integrity. We have also secured financial stability for our organization with the help of sponsorship from Gazprom, with more commercial support to come. But we will not stop there. All of these things are coming together as part of the huge shift we are delivering so that boxers can be sure of their future, fair judging and receiving a financial reward for their fights.”
These announcements follow the appointment of Professor Richard McLaren to conduct an independent investigation into the refereeing and judging of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games boxing tournament. Professor McLaren, who joined the press conference by video call, explained the mandate of his investigation and strongly encouraged whistleblowers to contact his investigation group directly, so the concerns can begin to be looked into.
AIBA Secretary General and two-time AIBA World Champion and World Champion in professional boxing István Kovács said:
“Boxers have been waiting for a long time to see these kinds of reforms that will ensure their right to a fair fight and a financial reward for their efforts. In addition to actioning the recommendations that come from our independent experts, we are also working on making a number of other improvements; from increasing our transparency and making more information about our policies publicly available, to looking at how we can improve sporting integrity through live scoring and other initiatives. We will not hesitate to make any changes needed to give boxers the sport they deserve.”
AIBA’s commitment to ensuring boxers have a fair fight was further highlighted by the presence of multiple World Champion Roy Jones Jr in Lausanne. He was also joined at the press conference by world-class boxers past and present, including six-time AIBA World Champion Mary Kom, two-time AIBA World Champion Roberto Cammarelle and 2018 German boxing champion Zeina Nassar.
The main goal for AIBA is to become a reliable home for boxers all over the world.
International Boxing Association (AIBA) set a prize fund of $320,000 USD for the medalists of the EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships, the first bouts of which started on Thursday. The finals, both men’s and women’s, are scheduled for June 24.
The winners will receive $8,000 USD. For silver medalists, AIBA provides a prize of $4,000 USD, for both bronze medalists – $2,000 each. The awards are equal for both genders in all 10 weight classes.
“We are taking care of our athletes’ well-being, therefore, it is crucial that we provide prize money for the medalists,” AIBA President Umar Kremlev said in a statement.
“Boxers’ achievements should be recognized and valued. Personally for me, as a President, it is important to give opportunities to our athletes. Their hard work and dedication are outstanding and very respectable. I want to encourage them for further progress,” he added.
India will be sending the best contingent ever to the Olympics scheduled to take place in Tokyo from July 23 to August 8. After securing just 2 podium positions in the 2016 Summer Games, India’s medal tally has been projected to make a massive leap this time.
Delhi Let’s Play spoke to Former World Champion Boxer L Sarita Devi to take her views on the upcoming mega sporting event.
Excerpts from the interview…
DLP: 2016 Rio was a disaster. What do you think India’s chances in Tokyo Olympics?
Sarita: Well, India has great chances in this year’s Tokyo Olympics. All the qualified players have been preparing really well under well qualified coaches and support staffs. Spots Ministry has been doing everything at their disposal to provide whatever is needed, right from well qualified coaches, technical support, Sports nutritionists, world class training centres etc. So, I think, India has big big chances to increase the medal tally than previous editions.
DLP: How many medals can India win this time? Can they break medal record?
Sarita: I should say about Boxing first. India should win at least 4 medals in Boxing considering the fact that our players have been getting perfect training environment, coaches and other much needed facilities. Yes, we should expect medals from Archery, Wrestling, Shooting and Badminton. And yeah, India has outside chance to win medal in men’s hockey as well.
DLP: You think, COVID restrictions (lockdown) hampered athletes’ preparation?
Sarita: Despite COVID issues and restrictions, we had plenty of time to prepare for Olympics and got lot of exposure tours and competitions. So, I don’t think COVID should hamper India’s chances at Olympics at all.
DLP: What are you doing these days? When can we see you in the ring?
Sarita: I was training with my Academy boxers before COVID. But now slightly reduced the training intensity with few training partners. Still fit and can come back any day.
DLP: So, what are your plans for future now?
Sarita: My future plan is to produce as many Champion Boxers as possible from my Academy and help other talented boxers in the country who will ultimately win medals for the country in Mega events like Commonwealth and Asian Games, World Championships and Olympics. Before the end of this year, I will be announcing my retirement from Boxing.
This photo, specially this Gold medal is very special to me. This is 1998 Asian Games Bangkok, Thailand – wherein Ding’KO Singh stunned everybody by beating a world class boxers, one after another, on his way to the Gold. After initial rounds win he beat world No. 3 first in not only in that Asian Games village but across Asia too. Thereafter, he beat world No. 7 in the Semis and eventually went on to win the Gold medal for India.
So his progress towards the Gold medal during this Asian championship was unique and filled with lot of excitement that truly uplifted Indian Boxing fraternity’s fighting spirit which was working very hard to raise the level of their sport for more than a couple of decades.
Ding’KO Singh is a story of that successful spirit !
The grassroot level boxing that was started in India in the form of sub-junior boxing is the root cause of Indian Boxing success today ! And Ding’KO was the first example, being the Sub Junior National Champion, Junior National Champion that was picked up by Indian Navy team to nurture him further. Coaches of Indian Navy then brought him to Mumbai, the base of Indian Navy Boxing team at INS Hamla, Malad.
I have known Ding’KO Singh since then. He was also chosen to represent Maharashtra in Nationals since he was a part of Mumbai and Maharashtra Boxing activity, being based in INS Hamla & having particiapated in MBA’s state meet then.
This Manipuri fighter had according to me, the hottest blood that I have ever come across.
Temperamentally, very hot headed Ding’KO was very sharp & at the same time possessed extraordinarily scientific boxing skills. Very proud, who always held his nose high whenever he was not Boxing.
But in the ring, I have seen his nose down and guard up always. Very very scientific way of Boxing, he was very quick, very swift and very precise. His left hook – right cross combination, would floor one of the best boxers chins and I have seen many of them going down like fallen handkerchiefs, where the boxers were hit swiftly on their chins and without realising, the next moment their knees buckled and they fell down there itself where they were standing a moment ago.
Ding’KO’s rise, coming into prominence and his form – I was very lucky to have seen all that from a close proximity. Not only because he was a Mumbai based boxer, but I have been a Referee Judge, I remember specially in 1997 National Games at Bangalore, where I worked as an Announcer most of the time and 1998 Ambala Senior Nationals, where Ding’KO Singh was just untouchable, just unstoppable and at the top of his form where he demolished and destroyed all of his opponents with extraordinary skills, speed & precision.
Dingko – was very special to me. If you notice, I always wrote ‘D’ in capital, ‘ing’ in small letters and ‘KO’ in bold capital letters since he used to ‘KO’ many of his opponents and I liked it. When he came back from Bangkok I was there to recieve him at Mumbai alongwith entire Navy team and Mr. Kishen Narsi to receive him like a hero.
His rise as a boxer literally gave India that much needed confidence – “Yes, we can do it”. In fact Dingko Singh success in 1998 to me was the first step in India’s rise Internationally. We indeed had some great boxers prior to Ding’KO too. Our Boxing was always good and India’s performance in the 1986 Asian Games was one of the best performance ever. However, Ding’KOs performance, rise & his success in 1998 Games gave us that much needed belief that “Yes, We can do it. We do have got class…”
And that Ding’KO spirit was carried on by all the hard working Coaches and Boxers in India and whatever we are successful today, I would say that was the first step towards the success journey of Indian Boxing.
Ding’KO was indeed very close to my heart and he would also had great love and respect for me too. Today I remember his injuries, his hard times when he fought like a true Champion. I remember young Ding’KO when we had taken him to Dr Anant Joshi for his wrist injury & his recent fightback last year when he was airlifted in emergency.
I remember many other occasions after he hung up his gloves as well, where he would call and speak very respectfully to me but in that respect, I could feel that love for me and that’s why my heart is very very heavy today as I lost one of the greatest boxers India has ever produced whose entire journey I had seen from a close quarter.
Ding’KO, you gave us that much needed confidence and ofcourse Ding’KO you will live forever in our hearts and the fighting spirit of yours will help us take Indian Boxing ahead.
Rest in peace Ding’KO. We pray to God Almighty for ‘shanti’ to your soul and I am sure from up there in heaven you will be watching over the next gen young & budding boxers and I am sure, you too will bless them with success like yours.
*Adios Ding’KO. You are amongst us, forever…*
Writer is Executive Council Member, Asian Boxing Federation ASBC,
One of the Founders, Boxing India BI & Boxing Federation of India BFI and
Former Secretary General – BI & BFI, Jt Secretary IBF.
The exciting women’s finals were held in the sixth competition day at the ASBC Asian Men’s & Women’s Elite Boxing Championships in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. Kazakhstan dominated the women’s finals, their boxers achieved eight gold medals out of the ten. Uzbekistan and India also achieved one title in Dubai, where Kazakhstan’s Nazym Kyzaibay defeated the legend of the world, Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte.
Altogether 150 boxers including 47 ladies are competing for the medals and money prizes at the ASBC Asian Men’s & Women’s Elite Boxing Championships. The money prizes of the competition for the gold, silver and bronze medallists were presented by AIBA Secretary General Mr. Istvan Kovacs of Hungary in Dubai.
AIBA allocates 400’000 USD prize money for Asian Boxing Championships. For the boxers who take first place, both men and women, the award is 10’000 USD. For the second, the prize money is 5’000 USD and for both bronze medalists it’s 2’500 USD each.
The following 17 nations are attending in the ASBC Asian Men’s & Women’s Elite Boxing Championships in Dubai: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Indonesia, India, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Laos, Mongolia, Philippines, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Uzbekistan.
Kazakhstan’s Alua Balkybekova has done a revenge in the final
Uzbekistan’s Gulasal Sultonalieva was one of the heroes of the fourth competition day when she bowed out the reigning champion, Philippines’ Josie Gabuco in the semi-finals of the light flyweight (48kg). The 22-year-old Uzbek had nice memories about her final opponent, Kazakhstan’s Alua Balkybekova following Sultonalieva defeated her neighbouring rival at the Ulan-Ude 2019 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. The younger Uzbek jumped in into the best fighting range and surprised Balkybekova with her quick attacks during the opening exchanges. The Kazakh boxer had more than 130 bouts during her career and tried to adopt the level of the contest using her longer reach in the first round. Balkybekova used the best fighting distance in their excellent final and she has done a revenge after their first meeting in Ulan-Ude.
Kazakhstan’s Nazym Kyzaibay stopped the Indian legend
India’s national boxing icon Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte arrived to Dubai to take her 6th Asian title. The six-time AIBA Women’s World Champion won almost all of her titles at the light flyweight (48kg) therefore she was going to win the gold medal of the flyweight (51kg) in Dubai. Mary Kom caught Kazakhstan’s two-time AIBA Women’s World Champion Nazym Kyzaibay with a tough punch during the opening of their final. The Indian star was smarter than in the semi-finals and she concentrated to her combinations better in the first round. Kyzaibay tried to follow her rhythm and came back to the contest with excellent jabs following she received the right advices in the first break. The Kazakh produced her best round in the third, when she controlled the fighting range and the exchanges therefore Kyzaibay stopped the Indian legend in Dubai.
Uzbekistan’s second gold medal in the history of the championships was achieved by Sitora Turdibekova
Uzbekistan’s first and lone gold medal in the history of the ASBC Asian Women’s Boxing Championships was achieved by Guzal Ismatova in 2017 but the young boxer died earlier this year at the age of 25. Sitora Turdibekova claimed bronze medal in the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Kielce this year and the 19-year-old talent gave in everything in the first round to surprise her Kazakh opponent, Vladislava Kukhta. The Uzbek talent moved more on feet than Kukhta in the first and second rounds during their impressive final at the featherweight (57kg). Turdibekova had strong motivation in the final and her successful counter-attacks were enough to beat the new Kazakh National Champion. Turdibekova is the second boxer from Uzbekistan after Guzal Ismatova, who could win an Asian woman title.
“I am very happy to win my first Asian Women’s Elite Boxing Championships. It was such a hard contest for me and this is the first gold medal for our team in the whole championships which made this success more unique. I dedicate this gold medal to my family and of course to the lovely Uzbek fans,” said Uzbekistan’s 19-year-old Sitora Turdibekova after her final contest.
Kazakhstan’s Rimma Volosenko knocked out her Indonesian rival
Kazakhstan’s Rimma Volosenko won several international tournaments in the recent six years but she was unlucky with the major championships until today. The 29-year-old Kazakh controlled all of her contests at the women’s lightweight (60kg) in the ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships. Volosenko had amazing fighting spirit in the final against Indonesia’s Asian Games bronze medallist Huswatun Hasanah and she decided their contest very quickly. The experienced Kazakh landed lethal punches and the Croatian referee confirmed her KO triumph in the first round.
“I prepared a lot to achieve the gold medal in the ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships. The event is exciting and our team arrived in good shape to the event. We worked hard this year, that is the reason of our successes in Dubai. I am ready to compete in the next AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships to reach my next goal,” claimed Kazakhstan’s Rimma Volosenko.
Valentina Khalzova returned with a gold medal
Kazakhstan’s Valentina Khalzova claimed gold medal at the Astana 2016 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and silver at the Ho Chi Minh City 2017 ASBC Asian Women’s Elite Boxing Championships. The 25-year-old Kazakh returned to the national team in 2020 after a break and proved strong performance in the preparation tournaments this year. Khalzova overcame Uzbekistan’s promising Navbakhor Khamidova in the first round and she controlled also the second. Khamidova tried to surprise her Kazakh opponent in the third round with quicker jabs but Khalzova had the skills to win the welterweight (69kg).
India’s Pooja Rani claimed her second Asian title
India’s Pooja Rani claimed gold medal at the light heavyweight (81kg) in the Bangkok 2019 ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships and after that she moved down to the middleweight (75kg). Following Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte and Lalbuatsaihi lost their finals, India’s first gold medal in the championship was bagged by Pooja Rani. She was eight years older than her final opponent, Uzbekistan’s Mavluda Mavlonova and her experience decided the title bout of the middleweight (75kg).
“It is a fantastic feeling taking the Asian title at the second time after Bangkok, that is what I have been prepared for during last recent months. I never met with my Uzbek opponent previously but she defeated Kazakhstan’s Olympic Games bronze medallist Marina Volnova therefore I expected a tough battle. I believe that I was better today and deserved to win the gold medal,” said India’s first gold medallist in Dubai, Pooja Rani quickly after her final.
List of the winners of the women’s finals in Dubai
48kg: Alua Balkybekova, Kazakhstan
51kg: Nazym Kyzaibay, Kazakhstan
54kg: Dina Zholaman, Kazakhstan
57kg: Sitora Turdibekova, Uzbekistan
60kg: Rimma Volosenko, Kazakhstan
64kg: Milana Safronova, Kazakhstan
69kg: Valentina Khalzova, Kazakhstan
75kg: Pooja Rani, India
81kg: Fariza Sholtay, Kazakhstan
+81kg: Lazzat Kungeibayeva, Kazakhstan
The next competition day at the 2021 ASBC Asian Elite Men’s and Women’s Boxing Championships
The ten men’s finals will be held in the last competition day of the ASBC Asian Elite Men’s and Women’s Boxing Championships in Dubai on Monday. The male finals will be starting in the Grand Ballroom of the Le Meridien Hotel on 31st of May at 6pm local time. Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Iran have the chance to achieve male titles in Dubai.
With inputs from AIBA
Defending champion Amit Panghal punched his way into the men’s 52kg final at the 2021 ASBC Asian Boxing Championships after outpunching Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov in the last-4 clash in Dubai on Friday.
During an intense battle between World Championships silver medallist Panghal and bronze medallist Bibossinov, the Indian made a cautious start and tried to keep a distance from the opponent.
He looked more aggressive later in the second round and hit some clean punches to put pressure on Bibossinov.
Panghal carried on the momentum throughout the match and stamped his authority over Kazakh boxer to secure a commanding 5-0 win. Aiming to win second successive gold, the Indian boxer will take on Rio Olympic champion Zoirov Shakhobidin of Uzbekistan in the gold medal match on Monday.
India is now assured of at least five silver medals with four women already making their way into the finals earlier on Thursday at the prestigious event which is jointly hosted by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and UAE Boxing Federation. With 15 medals confirmed, Indian contingent also achieved their highest medal haul, surpassing the previous best of 13 (2 gold, 4 silver and 7 bronze) from the 2019 edition in Bangkok.
On Thursday six-time World Champion Mary Kom (51kg) alongside three more Indian women pugilists—Pooja Rani (75kg), Anupama (+81kg) and Lalbuatsahi (64kg)—progressed into the finals. The defending champion Pooja received a walk-over against Mongolia’s Munkhbat. While in the other last-4 bouts played late on Friday night, Lalbuatsaihi was declared winner after her opponents from Kuwait Noura Almutairi abandoned the bout in the second round following the Indian’s relentless attack. Anupama (+81+kg) also emerged victorious against Mokhira Abdullaeva of Uzbekistan.
Meanwhile, it was heartbreak in the 54kg as the two-time youth world champion Sakshi Chaudhary, who was initially adjudged as winner, lost her place in the final and had to settle with bronze medal after the opponent Dina Zholaman appealed to review the last round of bout. The jury upheld the claim and altered the result in favour of Kazakh boxer. Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Jaismine (57kg) Monika (48kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Saweety (81kg) are the other women boxers who secured bronze medals after enduring defeats in their respective last-4 clashes.
The International Boxing Association, AIBA has allocated USD 4,00,000 prize money for the on-going Championships. The gold medallists of men’s and women’s categories will be awarded with USD 10,000 while both the silver and bronze medal winners will take home USD 5,000 and 2,500 respectively. Final matches of women’s and men’s categories will take place on Sunday and Monday respectively. The event has witnessed the presence of 150 boxers from 17 countries including strong boxing nations such as India, Uzbekistan, Philippines and Kazakhstan.
World Championship silver medallist Amit Panghal lived up to his reputation as he defeated Kharkhuu Enkhmandakh 3-2 in the 52kg quarter-finals at the 2021 ASBC Asian Boxing Championships in Dubai on Wednesday.
Both the boxers started the contest in a contrasting manner.
While Indian made a cautious start, Mongolian was aggressive from the word go. However, despite making defensive start, Panghal quickly shifted gears as both the boxers saw exchanging some heavy blows in fast paced fierce battle. With some timely and precise punches, the top seeded Panghal edged past the opponent. His tactical brilliance put himself ahead of Enkhmandakh and tilted the verdict in his favour in a closely-fought game.
With this victory, the defending champion Panghal progressed into semi-finals and confirmed 13th medal for the country at the ongoing championships and also his third successive Asian Championships medal after gold in 2019 and bronze in 2017. In the last-4 clash, Panghal is likely to meet Kazak boxer Saken Bibossinov, whom he beat in the 2019 World Championships semi-finals.
Later on the third day of the Championships, which is jointly hosted by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and UAE Boxing Federation, four more Indian pugilists, including Tokyo Olympic qualified Vikas Krishan (69kg) and Ashish Kumar (75kg), will fight in the quarter-final rounds.
Narender (+91) and Varinder Singh (60kg) are the other two boxers who will also be keen to make winning starts in tournament and confirm medals for the country.
Having secured medal in each category, 10 Indian women boxers including Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom (51kg), Simranjit (60kg), Sakshi (54kg), Jaismine (57kg), Lalbuatsaihi (64kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), Monika (48kg), Saweety (81kg) and Anupama (+81kg) will play their respective semi-finals on Thursday. The on-going Championships has been witnessing the presence of 150 boxers from 17 countries including strong boxing nations such as India, Uzbekistan, Philippines and Kazakhstan.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has paid in full its outstanding $10 million USD debt to Azerbaijani company Benkons LLC, which was the main loan for the organization and which had been at the heart of a period of financial instability. The loan had been part of an unsuccessful venture, the World Series of Boxing.
The settlement of the loan marks the fulfillment of an election promise by AIBA President Umar Kremlev to return the International Federation to financial stability. It is accompanied by a $7 million round of development funding which will see grants issued to National Federations (NFs) and regional Confederations.
“Financial issues have hung over the leadership of the sport I love for too many years. They have even threatened our Olympic future” said President Kremlev. “Closing the debt is a core achievement for our financial health and future Olympic prospects. I am very happy that we have been able to resolve this and ensure stability for AIBA. Boxing is a sport with a rich history, a strong present and an ambitious future. It deserves effective leadership.”
During the tenure of former President Ching-Kuo Wu, AIBA became guarantor to the loan of $10 million USD provided by Benkons. The resulting debt was identified by the IOC as a key reason for suspending payments to AIBA in 2017 and later the complete suspension of AIBA. AIBA hopes its settlement and the resulting stability will now prove to be a significant step towards resolving the IOC’s concerns.
Meanwhile, the AIBA Financial Support Programme has been launched to provide development and equipment resources for the work of its NFs and Confederations. AIBA will distribute $2 million USD for NFs annually. Additionally, boxing equipment will be provided to countries for $2.5 million USD total. Each of the five AIBA Confederations will receive £500,000 USD per year. The funds to make these developments possible have a clear source and do not themselves involve any new indebtedness. As part of its work to ensure financial stability, AIBA recently secured significant sponsorship from Gazprom.
AIBA is also using its new-found financial stability as a platform for achieving progress in governance reform and sporting integrity. An independent investigation has been commissioned into allegations of past judging corruption, notably around the Rio 2016 Olympic Games boxing tournament. In addition, new systems and processes are being introduced to combat corrupt judging, match-fixing and other forms of manipulation.
Two-times AIBA World Champion and Olympic champion István Kovács was appointed as a Secretary General of the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
The decision was taken by the AIBA Board of Directors on Monday, March 22nd, during a meeting via videoconference.
“The fate of our organization has to be decided and will be decided by the boxers themselves. They have dedicated their entire lives to boxing, they know it from the inside and understand the needs for our sport effective development better than any managers. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that the Board of Directors members have approved István Kovács as AIBA Secretary General. István Kovács is a two-time World Champion and an Olympic champion, boxing is life and AIBA is a family for him. I am positive that as Secretary General he will be able to bring AIBA to a fundamentally new efficiency level and transparency of management,” said AIBA President Umar Kremlev.
“I am very grateful for the confidence placed in me by the AIBA Board of Directors. It is a great honor and at the same time a great responsibility to become the Secretary General of the International Boxing Association and to work together with President Umar Kremlev, a man who lives by boxing. Now AIBA is undergoing a period of global reforms. All of them are necessary for boxing to develop as a sport loved by millions of people around the globe so that our athletes and coaches show the best results in international competitions at all levels. I see that the new AIBA leadership is heading in the right direction and is committed to working with full dedication to support and reinforce this course of positive change. I pledge to act in the best interests of boxing and guarantee maximum openness and democracy in my work. I am sure that together we will be able to carry out all the necessary reforms and bring AIBA to a fundamentally new level,” Kovács said.
István Kovács will take over as AIBA Secretary General this week.