British boxer Joe Joyce, beaten by Frenchman Tony Yoka in the final of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, claims the gold medal following the publication of the findings of an independent investigation, according to which eleven fights in the Olympic tournament, including the Yoka-Joyce final, are marred by possible cheating. The Londoner was beaten by the Frenchman in the over 91kg category on a split decision by the judges who, like others in Rio, was hotly contested.
Published Thursday, September 30, an independent report from the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) confirmed the existence of a vast system of influence piloted at the top of AIBA, then led by Taiwanese Ching-Kuo Wu. “We will never know the real extent of the number of fights handled in Rio”said Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, a specialist in sports investigations, who led the investigation.
At least eleven “Suspicious fights” manipulation of arbitrators have been identified, however. Five of the six French medals, including the titles of Tony Yoka and Estelle Mossely, are among these fights. However, the report does not accuse either the boxers or their entourage of having intervened directly to influence the outcome of the fights.
“See what measures are necessary to guarantee justice”
“I am convinced that I won the fight against Tony Yoka and that I deserved the gold medal. But, that day, I was not declared the winner and, at the time, I accepted it ”, Joe Joyce explained on social networks, the day after the publication of Richard McLaren’s progress report.
“If there has been corruption, and it appears to be the case, I have confidence in the International Amateur Boxing Association and the International Olympic Committee to guarantee the integrity of the sport and to award me the medal of gold “, adds Joe Joyce, who will “Examine this report in detail” with his team of lawyers.
The investigation particularly implicates the French Karim Bouzidi, former executive director of AIBA, who had been sacked three days before the end of the Rio Olympics. Two years ago, he had already been suspected of having come to an agreement with the most famous umpires (labeled “five stars” and supposed to raise the level of arbitration) to favor certain countries.
Current AIBA President Umar Kremlev has pledged to“Carefully review the report and [de] see what measures are necessary to guarantee justice ”, as AIBA has been working for months to restore its credibility and save boxing’s place on the Olympic program.