THE present leadership of AIBA, the Alliance of International Boxing Associations under its president Dr. Wu Kuo-Ching of Chinese Taipei and who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee Executive Board, has re-established its integrity as an organization free of the kind of corruption that was rampant during the presidency of his predecessor Prof. Anwar Chowdhry of Pakistan.
In 2007, Chowdhry was barred for life from any involvement with AIBA for alleged mismanagement of federation funds.
This simply means that in the present environment, Filipino boxers have a better chance of winning in major international competitions.
Despite the ban, Chowdhry, who was chairman of the Pakistan Boxing Federation, remained the most powerful man in boxing in Pakistan as neither the Pakistan Olympic Association nor the Pakistan Sports Board took any action against him after the ban.
Dr. Wu won the AIBA election by a slim margin of votes of 83-79 over Chowdhry on Nov. 6, 2006 in Sto. Domingo, with what the AIBA described as “high hopes of reforming AIBA into a transparent, trusted and professionally operated governing body.”
Since Dr. Wu’s assumption of the top post, AIBA has become what is regarded as a “respected and model organization where efficiency, honesty and equality are ever present.”
Dr. Wu continues to build on the qualities of AIBA and “reach for higher, bolder goals that will bring boxing into a category of its own.”
ABAP executive director Ed Picson, in a lengthy conversation with The Standard, said that under Wu there is no corruption, compared to Chowdhry –not by a long shot.”
“I’m not saying there’s none because I don’t know that, but there may be some influence in it. In the past, there was barefaced corruption during Chowdhry’s time. You’d see people bringing suitcases full of money,” Picson said.
In the past, ABAP officials revealed they were forced to bribe Chowdhry or his henchmen as much as $5,000 merely to be assured of a fair decision, but it was a pointless exercise as the Filipinos’ opponents did the same thing.
Such revelations angered Chowdhry, who vowed that no Filipino will win medals in major international competitions.
It’s different under Dr. Wu.
“He strikes me as a decent fellow. He was schooled in England. He conducts himself in a very proper manner. He is a gentleman. He is articulate and has introduced so many measures like the choice of referees and judges,” Picson said. “I can’t for the life of me see how somebody can get to the referees and judges.”
He then enumerated various measures instituted by Dr. Wu to maintain the sport’s integrity.
“No. 1 they are isolated, even the technical officials. I am not allowed to even talk to my wife (who is a top official of AIBA in the technical committee),” Picson said. “Everybody makes a joke about it. But if they see me talking to Karina, she’ll be sent home. That’s how strict they are. No. 2, the officials are not allowed to bring their cellphones and when they go to the gym, the referees and judges don’t know which bouts they are going to officiate because they are told only one bout before. And no. 3, there are five judges appointed for each bout, but only three will count. It’s computerized with the seats numbered 1 to 5 and you don’t know which seat you are going to be assigned to until before the fight when you draw a pingpong ball with a number on it. And then you don’t know whether your scores will be counted or not because the computer only comes out with the seat numbers and chooses the scores to be tallied after the bout. That’s why you see