Fights seen at boxing congress
SACRAMENTO, California—Expect some fireworks when the International Boxing Association (Aiba) convenes in, of all places, South Korea next month.
The Aiba will hold its congress and elections on the resort island of Jeju—not exactly a world apart from Incheon—the port city that hosted the recent Asian Games.
In the wake of the 17th Asiad, it has gained another historical footnote as the site of the most serious ring hijinks under Aiba’s seal since Taiwanese architect Wu Ching-kuo became president in 2006.
Until Incheon, minor troubles have punctuated Wu’s watch after he defeated Anwar Chowdry and sent the despotic Pakistani’s 20-year run finally screeching to a halt, along with its black eyes of financial mischief and corrupt judging.
But now, things will get messy for Wu as he faces boxing leaders from fuming countries, including the Philippines, who said their boxers fell victims to scoring that favored the hosts at the Incheon Asiad.
Under Wu, the Aiba has done away with head gears. It also introduced new scoring rules similar to those used in professional bouts and began instituting them in Incheon.
The new rules, and possible changes to these, and other issues that whipped up a storm of controversy in Incheon will be tackled on Jeju.
What the delegations would say at the congress, set Nov. 8 to 15, may not go over too well with Wu and his lieutenants.
As I write this, country delegations, the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (Abap) included, are getting ready for whatever fight occurs on the congress floor.
“We are … preparing our moves in the face of the upcoming Aiba congress and elections,” Ed Picson, the Abap executive director said.
“Knowing the characters involved in the shenanigans in Incheon, we would rather keep our cards close to our chests at this point.”
Aside from the Philippines, India and Mongolia both claimed they were the victims of scoring thought to have preferred the hosts.
Despite perceived favoritism by the judges, South Korea finished second to Kazakhstan in the final boxing medal tally. The Kazakhs had 10 medals—six of them gold—compared to the host country’s six, including two golds.
Our pugs won one silver and three bronze medals. Two fights that appeared to have been stolen from us were those involving Ian Clark Bautista and Mark Anthony Barriga who lost to South Korean boxers.
Picson’s mind is boggled by Wu and his promise of “bouts of renewal” when he took over from Chowdry, who died in 2010.
“I am as confounded as you of the contrast in Wu’s pronouncements and the controversies that mark some of the [Aiba] tournaments, highlighted by the ones in Incheon,” Picson said. “I have had several one-on-one conversations with him and he seems very sincere in his drive to cleanse the sport.”