London—British boxer Joe Joyce believes he should be awarded an Olympic gold medal after an independent investigation highlighted his defeat at Rio 2016 was one of more than 10 bouts suspected of being manipulated.
The Londoner settled for silver five years ago after being on the wrong end of a split decision to France’s Tony Yoka in their super-heavyweight final, one of several controversial judging decisions at the Games.
Now the first stage of an enquiry by Professor Richard McLaren, commissioned by the current leadership team at the International Boxing Association (AIBA), has examined how bouts were manipulated for money or as political favours.
“I firmly believe that I was the winner of the match with Tony Yoka and deserved the gold medal. But on the day I did not get that decision and at the time I accepted that,” Joyce posted on his social media channels.
“If corruption has taken place, and it appears that it has, I trust AIBA and the IOC will ensure the integrity of the sport is upheld and award me the gold medal.
“I will be considering the report in detail with my legal team and await the decision of AIBA and the IOC. Corruption should never be allowed to succeed.”
The report found judges were often “preyed upon by those with corrupt motives”. Qualifying events for Rio became the practice ground where manipulation methods were “fine-tuned.”
Current AIBA president Umar Kremlev said of the report: “I am determined to ensure that boxers receive a fair fight. This determination is demonstrated by AIBA’s clear commitment to uncovering the truth and acting on it.
“We must now carefully examine the report and see what steps are needed to ensure justice. What is important is that we make sure the mechanisms are in place to show that results are above suspicion.”
AIBA was suspended and barred from organising the boxing competition at Tokyo 2020 after an International Olympic Committee (IOC) task force review of the sport’s governance, management, refereeing and judging.
The IOC directly oversaw the competition in Japan instead.
AIBA has been warned boxing’s place at the 2024 Games in Paris is in jeopardy unless shortcomings identified in the review are addressed.
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