Over the last few weeks there has been a real fear that the 2020 Olympics will not feature boxing, after the IOC made it clear that they saw Gafur Rakhimov, the current interim president of AIBA, as someone they wouldn't approve of.
Earlier this month it seemed that Rakhimov, who has been linked to a number of crimes, would sit unopposed to become the full time leader of AIBA. That was because no candidate got the required signatures to the AIBA office by their deadline, a deadline that their office wasn't open for.
Their was one man who had the signatures and provided them to AIBA the day after the deadline, that was popular Kazakh Serik Konakbayev.
Originally AIBA stated that because he had missed the deadline he wasn't allowed to sit, and Rakhimov would run unopposed. The Kazakh stated he was taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland to appeal the decision, and today they over-turned the decision of AIBA, allowing Konakbayev to run for the presidency.
He has made it clear that he wants to run on on rebuilding trust with the IOC, sponsors and repairing the reputational and financial problems that AIBA have had in recent years. He appears to have a lot of strong backing, but even winning the presidency would appear to be a small win given the uphill take he would have in rebuilding AIBA to being a respected body, and winning over the IOC, who appear to be very serious in dropping amateur boxing if AIBA don't tidy up their act.
(Photo of the NOC press service)
Earlier today fans in Sofia saw the finals of the Youth World Championships. The competition, which has been going on for 10 days came to a conclusion in exciting fashion which may well have seen the emergence of some top prospects from around the world.
The first final was in the 49KG division where we had an all Asian final as Shalkar Aykynbay (Kazakhstan) faced Suleyman Latipov (Uzbekistan). The bout finished relatively one sided with the Kazakh winning a 3:0 decision over Latipov. Interestingly this was the third successive bout where Aykynbay defeated an Asian with victories over Subaru Murata (Japan) in the quarter final and Shyam Kumar Kakara (India) in his semi final.
At 52KG we had no direct interest but the final saw Shakur Stevenson (USA) defeat Muhammad Ali (England) 3:0. Both of the finalists had beaten Asian fighters in the semi finals so Asian's took both bronze medals though they'd have both loved the chance to have fought for gold here.
In the 56KG division we saw disappointment for an Asian fighter as the very talented Javier Ibanez (Cuba) defeated Sultan Zaurbek (Kazakhstan) with a score of 3:0. Perhaps surprisingly Ibanez was one of just two Cubans to reach the final.
At 60KG Abylaykhan Zhusupov (Kazakhstan) claimed his nation's second gold medal as he defeated Arsen Mustafa (Romania) with a 3:0 victory.
In the 64KG division we got the coming to forced of political opponents as Bibert Tumenov (Russian) fought Viktor Petrov (Ukraine). It was the Russian who took home gold courtesy of a 3:0 victory.
Up at 69KG's we saw Asia take another gold medal with Bektemir Melikuziyev (Uzbekistan) taking a 3:0 victory over Luka Prtenjaca (Croatia). This was Uzbekistan's only gold medal.
Croatia had it's second silver medal winner as Luka Plantic (Croatia) dropped a 3:0 decision to Dmitriy Nesterov (Russia) in the 75KG division.
In the 81KG division home hero Blagoy Naydenov (Bulgaria) claimed his nation's only gold medal as he defeated Vadim Kazakov (Kazakhstan) 3:0.
In the Heavyweight division, 91KG's, the gold medal went to Yordan Hernandez (Cuba) who, like many of the others who got to the final, took a 3:0 decision to clam his gold. Hernandez defeated Toni Filipi (Croatia) to claim his medal.
The highest division, the Super Heavyweight division, saw the most competitive bout as Darmani Rock (USA) took a 2:1 decision to claim the USA's second gold medal. Rock defeated Peter Kadiru (Germany) to claim his medal.
Today saw the semi-finals of the AIBA Youth World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. The semi finals had Asian fighters across a number of divisions and whilst some of them successfully fought their way to the final others will be happy to have taken home a very well earned bronze medal.
At the lowest weight class, the 49KG division, we knew we'd have 2 finalists from Asia after all the 4 semi finalists were all from Asia. These semi finals saw Suleyman Latipov (Uzbekistan) overcome Rufat Huseynov (Azerbaijan) 3:0 to reach the final. Latipov will be facing Shalkar Aykynbay (Kazakhstan) in the final with the Kazakh having over-come Shyam Kumar Kakara (India) 2:1.
At 51KG the final will see the very recognisable name of Muhammad Ali (England) facing off against Shakur Stevenson (USA). Ali defeated Masud Yusifzade (Azerbaijan) by a score of 3:0 whilst Stevenson beat Lu Ping (China), also 3:0, giving Asia 2 Bronze medal winners but unfortunately no finalist's.
In the 56KG division final we will have Sultan Zaurbek (Kazakhstan) going for gold after he defeated Peter McGrail (England). Zaurbek's opponent in the final will be Javier Ibanez (Cuba) who defeated Dushko Blagovestov (Bulgaria) 2:1.
We had 3 of the 4 semi finalists at 60KG, unfortunately however only 1 of them managed to progress. The man who did make his way to the final was Abylaykhan Zhusupov (Kazakhstan) who defeated fellow Asian fighter Ikboljon Kholdarov (Uzbekistan) 3:0. Zhusupov will be facing Arsen Mustafa (Romania) who sadly scored an opening round stoppage over Go Hosaka (Japan).
At 64KG we had 2 semi finalists and thankfully one of those progressed to the final. The man who moved on was Bibert Tumenov (Russia) who defeated Vincenzo Arecchia (Italy) 3:0 whilst the one who missed out was Toshihiro Suzuki (Japan) who was beaten by Vicktor Petrov (Ukraine) 2:1.
In the 69KG division we managed to have one finalist as Bektemir Melikuziyev (Uzbekistan) managed to take a 3rd round injury victory over Juan Ramon Solano (Dominican Republic). Melikuziyez will be battling against Luka Prtenjaca (Croatia) in the final after the Croatian took a 3rd round TKO over Ilyas Odinayev (Belarus).
Prtenjaca isn't the only Croat in the finals as his compatriot Luka Plantic (Croatia) defeated Ramil Gadzhiev (Ukraine) 3:0 to book his place in the 75KG final. Plantic will be fighting Dmitriy Nesterov (Russia) who beat Kozimbek Mardonov (Uzbekistan) 2:1 to book his place in the final.
Vadim Kazakov (Kazakhstan) was the only Asian in the 81KG division semi finals and thankfully he's managed to defeat Vegar Tregren (Norway) to take his place in the final. Going for gold against Kazakov will be home country favourite Blagoy Naydenov (Bulgaria) who scored his semi final victory with a 3:0 win over Narek Manasyan (Armenia).
Unfortunately in the 91KG Heavyweight division we had to wave goodbye to Kim Jin-Nyong (South Korea) who lost 3:0 to Toni Filipi (Croatia) who became the third Croat to book a place in the final. Filipi will be battling against the very talented Yordan Hernandez (Cuba) who scored a 3:0 victory over Robert Marton (Ukraine).
In the Super Heavyweight division Darmani Rock (USA) booked his place in the final with a 2nd round TKO over Laszlo Komor (Hungary). Rock will be fighting Peter Kadiru (Germany) in the final after Kadiru took a 3rd round Disqualification victory over Marat Kerimkhanov (Russia)..
In other good news from the tournament Jthe very promising 17 year old Subaru Murata (Japan) defeated Joel Finol (Venezuela) 3:0 in the box-off to get himself a place at the 2014 Juniour Olympics. Many said that the Japanese fighter stole the show in the box-off section of the tournament with a busy and exciting style that was simply too much for Finol to cope with
Yesterday boxing fans in Sofia got the chance to watch the 40 quarter finals at the AIBA Youth World Amateur Championships. The winners of those 40 bouts all guaranteed themselves at least a bronze medal and will be fighting for a place in the final over the come day or two.
At the 49KG division all 4 medals will be going to Asian fighters as all the semi finalists will coming from Asia. They will be Rufat Huseynov (Azerbaijan), Suleyman Latipov (Uzbekistan), Shalkar Aykynbay (Kazahkstan) and Shyam Kumar Kakara (India). Unfortunately we had 5 of the 8 quarter finalists and the man who misses out is Subaru Murata (Japan) who was out pointed by Aykynbay.
In the 52KG division we have Masud Yusifzade (Azerbaijan) and Lu Ping (China) though as with the 49KG division one Asian fighter missed out, that was Gaurav Solanki (India) who was beat 3:0 by Ping.
At 56KG we have just 1 semi finalist, Sultan Zaurbek (Kazahkstan) whilst Wang Long (China) was narrowly out pointed by Dushko Blagovestov (Bulgaria).
In the 60KG division we have 3 of the 4 semi finalists with Ikboljon Kholdarov (Uzbekistan), Abylaykhan Zhusupov (Kazahkstan) and Go Hosaka (Japan) all making it through. The pick of the wins was from Hosaka who upset the highly touted Alayn Limonta (Cuba).
Hosaka is joined in the semi finals by compatriot Toshihiro Suzuki (Japan) who made it through in the 64KG division alongside Bibert Tumenov (Russia) whilst Javid Guliyev (Azerbaijan) went out following a walk over loss to Vincenzo Arecchia (Italy).
At 69KG the only Asian semi finalist is Bektemir Melikuziyev (Uzbekistan) who defeated Olexiy Tokarchuk (Ukraine) with a 3:0 scoreline.
At 75KG we had to wave good bye to Bekzhan Bakirov (Kazahkstan) though we did see both Dmitriy Nesterov (Russia) and Kozimbek Mardonov (Uzbekistan) make their way in to the final 4.
At 81KG's it was the Vadim Kazakov (Kazahkstan) who managed to go through as Obidzhon Tokhirov (Uzbekistan) fell to the way side. Kazakov defeated a Turkish opponent whilst Tokhirov went out to a Bulgarian foe.
In the 91KG Heavyweight division we had to see Shukran Mehdiyev (Azerbaijan) lose to Toni Filipi (Croatia) though that blow was softened by the very unexpected Kim Jin-Nyong (South Korea) who has done amazingly well to make his way to the semi finals and has amazingly not come close to losing, having won every bout so far 3:0.
At Super Heavyweight Marat Kerimkhanov (Russia) made it to the final 4 at the expense of Muhamedali Tairov (Azerbaijan) with a 3:0 victory.
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