Team GB’s Joe Joyce prepares for Olympic gold as investigation reveals 2016 fights have been fixed
Joe Joyce, who is now making his way into the heavyweight division, was on the wrong side of a split decision in Rio five years ago and the fight is one of 11 identified as “suspects”.
British boxer Joe Joyce is set to be declared the winner of his Olympic boxing gold medal match at Rio 2016, after investigators fear several fights were rigged by referees at the Games.
The Briton faced French fighter Tony Yoka in the super-heavyweight final at Rio 2016, and felt he had done enough to follow in Anthony Joshua’s footsteps four years earlier.
But a split decision went in favor of his opponent and Yoka took a surprise victory.
Now, a lengthy investigation by Professor Richard McLaren into whether the competition was fair or not has concluded that officials at the International Boxing Association (AIBA) chose referees and judges “who would comply or turn a blind eye. on what was happening “.
The results were released Thursday by McLaren, whose team was responsible for disclosing the scale of the Russian state-sponsored doping program that led to athletes banning flag competition.
At Tokyo 2020, the country’s competitors covering Eastern Europe and North Asia officially represented the Russian Olympic Committee.
McLaren and his team were called up by AIBA, which had “strong suspicions” about some of the referees used at the Games as well as its former French executive director Karim Bouzidi.
After the report’s publication, McLaren told reporters in Lausanne that there was a “culture of fear, intimidation and obedience in the ranks of referees and judges,” adding that “key personnel decided that the rules did not apply to them “.
The Canadian went on to say that the referees had been informed of who should be selected as the winner of a fight the morning before the Olympic fight schedule.
McLaren was unable to identify the main culprits behind the plans, but said then AIBA President Wu Ching-kuo “bears ultimate responsibility for the failures of the arbitration to Rio and qualifying events ”and that he was supported by Executive Director Bouzidi.
“The seeds for this were sown years ago, from at least the Olympic Games of the 21st century to the events around 2011 and London 2012,” he continued.
“The qualifying competitions along the route to participation in Rio in 2016 have been the training ground for corruption and the manipulation of the fights in Rio.
“During Olympic qualifying, the handling methodology was refined for use in Rio.
It is also unclear whether Joyce will win a gold medal as a result of the boxing investigation at the Rio Games.
Despite his declared defeat in 2016, Joyce continued to follow Joshua in turning pro after his amateur success.
Action footage via Reuters)
He signed with David Haye’s Hayemaker Ringstar before later moving on to Frank Warren’s Queensberry promotions and winning top-tier fights against Daniel Dubois and Carlos Takam.
After his victory over the latter in July this year, Joyce announced that he would like to face Joshua or Oleksandr Usyk next.
But that was before the world heavyweight championship fight between the two at Tottenham Hotspur stadium, which was won by the Ukrainian in a thrilling competition.
Joshua has since triggered his rematch clause, which means he will have a chance to reclaim his titles in a fight that could take place in Kiev.
In total, McLaren’s investigation found that at least 11 bouts in Rio were suspect.
“It may be necessary to examine further the fighting for which no definitive conclusion can be drawn at the moment,” he continued.
His report concludes: “The fights were manipulated for money, a perceived advantage of AIBA, or to thank national federations and their Olympic committees, and, on occasion, competition hosts for their financial support. and their political support.
“The investigation to date has concluded that such manipulation sometimes involved large six-figure sums. The evidence found by MIIT is considered the tip of the iceberg.”
No referees who played a role at the 2016 Games have been selected to continue playing their role at Tokyo 2020, as they have all been suspended by AIBA amid ongoing fight allegations.
The organization released a statement on Thursday from its chairman, Russian businessman Umar Kremlev, who was not in office at the time.
“Professor McLaren and his team have identified a system to manipulate the results of the bouts at the Rio 2016 boxing tournament,” he said.
“I am determined to ensure that boxers receive a fair fight. This determination is demonstrated by AIBA’s clear commitment to uncover the truth and act upon it.
“We must now carefully review the report and see what steps are needed to ensure justice. What is important is that we make sure that the mechanisms are in place to show that the results are above suspicion. “
He added that the organization had hired McLaren and his team “because we have nothing to hide”, and pledged to continue to help with the ongoing investigation.
The next stage of the investigation will examine whether or not there is any evidence of corruption within the AIBA leadership at the time.
Meanwhile, the future of boxing as an Olympic sport is in doubt with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) saying it is unhappy with the leadership of AIBA.
The competitions in Tokyo were organized by the IOC rather than the AIBA.
In a public letter to Kremlev, signed by Director General Christophe De Kepper, the IOC said it had “the deepest concerns” about the association, and hinted that boxing may not have its place. in the program of the Paris Games in 2024.