Tokyo 2020 to continue boxing preparations amid uncertainty

Tokyo 2020 has said it will proceed with preparations for boxing at the summer Olympic Games, despite the International Olympic Committee (IOC) having suspended work amid the governance crisis at the International Boxing Association (Aiba).

The IOC on Friday decided to freeze preparations for boxing at Tokyo 2020 as it commenced a procedure which could lead it to withdrawing recognition of Aiba, which has been under the spotlight since the departure of disgraced former president Ching-Kuo Wu late last year.

Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto has said that while “official level contact” with Aiba has been stopped, working-level contact will continue. “Working level contact is allowed, that’s our understanding,” Muto said, according to the AFP news agency.

“So we will liaise, we will keep our collaboration, coordination. We will make efforts in preparation so that we have no delay in responding to the eventual decision which might come to implement the competition (of boxing). Venue preparation will proceed accordingly.”

Muto said a final decision on boxing’s position in the Olympics is not expected until June. However, should the sport retain its place, the Tokyo 2020 chief maintained that the Japanese capital will be ready to stage boxing at its Games. “Regarding the preparations, no worries, that’s what I want to say to the athletes,” he said.

The removal of boxing’s status as an Olympic sport has been one of the options open to the IOC as it grapples with the multiple issues at the heart of governing body.

The IOC Executive Board on Friday acknowledged Aiba’s progress and its commitments highlighted in the report, but added that several points of “significant concern” remain, in particular in the areas of governance, ethics and financial management. A panel has been formed, led by United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic, to further investigate these concerns.