Yoka's lawyer calls for Rio 2016 boxing 'cheats' to be penalised

·2-min read
Tony Yoka's Olympic gold medal has come under scrutiny after an invstigation said his bout was one of 10 suspected of manipulation (AFP/FRANCK FIFE)

The lawyer of French former Olympic boxing champion Tony Yoka called Monday for punishments after an independent investigation highlighted his victory at Rio 2016 as one of more than 10 bouts suspected of manipulation.

The findings of the first stage of an inquiry by Professor Richard McLaren was released last week, examining how bouts were manipulated for money or as political favours.

Commissioned by the current leadership team at the International Boxing Association (AIBA), the report unveiled a vast network of "bout manipulation" involving "compliant and complicit" referees and judges acting under "a culture of fear, intimidation and obedience" created by AIBA.

According to McLaren, Ching-Kuo Wu, then-AIBA president and former executive director Karim Bouzidi, were complicit in allowing the corruption at Rio to happen.

"If people have cheated, they should be penalised, and as quickly as possible," Yoka's lawyer Arnaud Pericard told AFP.

"It's an independent report by AIBA, maybe in a difficult context. Right now there's nothing to take away from it.

"It puts the athlete in an uncomfortable situation, and the real victim is the athlete," he added.

On Friday, British boxer Joe Joyce, who lost to Yoka in the super-heavyweight final in Rio, said he should be awarded the gold medal.

The Londoner had to settle for silver five years ago after being on the wrong end of a split decision.

But Dominique Nato, president of the French boxing federation, said: "No one has the right to sully French boxers based on analyses that are as approximate as they are unfounded!

"We take note that in this report the former executive director –- a Frenchman -– of the AIBA (Bouzidi) would have knowingly favoured certain competitors, including French athletes," Nato added.

"We await the proof to support such assertions, which are, for the moment, only hypotheses."

AIBA was suspended and stripped of the right to organise the boxing competition at this year's Tokyo Olympics 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 Tokyo instead.

AIBA has been warned boxing's place at the 2024 Paris Olympics is in jeopardy unless shortcomings identified in the review are addressed.

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