With less than a month remaining before the presidential election for the International Boxing Association (AIBA), the governing body can finally get back in control of amateur boxing after International Olympic Committee (IOC) had stripped its Olympic status last year.
Azerbaijan’s Suleyman Mikayilov is one of the seven candidates who have stood in AIBA’s presidential election scheduled for December 12-13. Mikayilov is convinced that a series of initiatives ranging from a good governance reform and a new culture of transparency to a launch of new financial body should be implemented to restore trust in AIBA.
“After the election, an aggressive and fully-fledged reform process must be implemented. Without doing so, we cannot be trusted by the IOC,” Mikayilov said.
On June 26, 2019, the IOC stripped Olympic status from AIBA due to the “very serious reputational, legal and financial risks” for the IOC and its American stakeholders and because of its failure to deal with governance matters. At 2016 Rio Olympics Irish boxer Michael Conlan accused the judges of incorrectly favoring Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin in fight, which also damaged AIBA’s reputation.
Suleyman Mikayilov, who is a member of the AIBA Executive Committee and a former boxer, believes that serious changes should be done to AIBA’s judging system.
“I have been frustrated and watched first-hand how judging systems have been implemented over the years. We need to restore faith in our judging system with effective use of new technology,” the 58-years-old presidential candidate from Azerbaijan said.
Mikayilov stressed that a key part of his manifesto is adopting new technologies to enhance the fairness of judging in all competitions. This could be a launch of the testing lab to examine and certificate all boxing equipment and introduction of sensors in gloves and vests to minimize human factor, according to the presidential candidate. The technology is now developed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.
“I plan to develop a partnership with this entity to get some benefits for our sport, especially for the boxers by enhancing the judging, performance and safety.”
Suleyman Mikayilov also promised to clear AIBA’s financial problems and ensure new transparent and healthy finance structure for sustainable financial independence if elected.
Emilia Grueva, a fellow AIBA executive committee member and a vice president of the Bulgarian Boxing Federation, is convinced that Mikayilov will succeed if elected.
“He has the potential to be the type of leader that AIBA needs and he has so much knowledge on boxing as he was a boxer in his youth. I was really impressed by what I read in his letter to the federations and from recent talks with him,” Grueva told in an interview with the US-based Around The Rings sport outlet.
“AIBA remains crippled by debts and is basically non-functioning at present. There are no funds and no staff to carry out the operations of the organization. The longer we remain without a credible leader in charge, the bleaker the future will be for AIBA and the boxers around the world,” she added.