THE DIRTY SOCKS OF OLYMPIC BOXING, PART II: $20 000 FOR A RIO QUOTA
Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be remembered with one of the most controversial boxing tournament in the history of the five interlaced rings. For the first time seven of the most experienced referees/judges were expelled during the competition without further explanations. Those officials were known as The Magnificent Seven. They were extremely influential, because they were given huge authority to evaluate, train, mentor and select all the other referees and judges in elite Olympic boxing competitions.
Just before the eviction of The Magnificent the audience in Rio de Janeiro booed the result of the infamous heavyweight final (91 kg) between the Russian boxer Evgeny Tischenko and Kazakhstanian Vasily Levit and the following medal awarding ceremony in front of IOC president Thomas Bach. The most influential person in the sport probably was asking himself what the heck is going on with the Olympic boxing. If he just knew what had happened a year ago in Doha, Qatar during the World championships.
The event in Doha was the first qualification for Rio de Janeiro’s Olympics. 23 quotas were distributed during the World championships. Depending of the category one to three quotas were given by each weight division.
At the evening before the semifinals the president of the Cuban federation and a member of International boxing association’s (AIBA) Executive committee Alberto Puig de la Barca received a surprising request by a China referee Dexin Wang. The Cuban, who was described as a double agent for Cuban intelligence and CIA in the book “Sport in Cuba” by Paula J. Pettavino and Geralyn Pye, decided to record the conversation. Dexin Wang allegedly proposed $20 000 to fix the semifinal bout at 52 kg between Yosbani Veitia (Cuba) and Hu Jianguan (China). The Cuban boxer was a clear favorite as he is always a medal contender in every competition that he participated. In 2017 Veitia would become world champion in Hamburg. Two years earlier, in Doha, Hu Jianguan showed himself for the first time in major competition.
“During the World championships in Doha a bribery attempt was made directly to me for Yosbani Veitia’s fight”, told Alberto Puig de la Barca during an interview for CubaSI.cu. “They proposed me $20 000 for a loss. We denounce the attempt right away, because it was recorded on a cell phone and this was hard evidence. A commission in AIBA was created and those, who were involved, were expelled. According to people, who have been (in AIBA) for a long time, this was the first time when an official complaint was made. It gave me an idea that in the past some people must have been put $20 000 in their pocket. This time they went to the wrong people.”
Shocking, stunning and shameful. On the next day Veitia won as expected. The bribery case was never revealed by AIBA. Something more, the ugly attempt was burned as deep as the currently suspended AIBA president CK WU was promoting the transparency in his organization. Neither supervisors or officials of the world championships, neither AIBA Executive committee members heard on the record about the clear corruption. Two days after the bribery attempt AIBA Executive committee had a meeting. Alberto Puig was there alone with all his colleagues. He never revealed on public what happened.
According to whistleblowers, Alberto Puig went with the voice record to AIBA Executive director Karim Bouzidi and AIBA president Ching-Kwo Wu. If it’s true, which yours truly author still cannot believe, the question remains why they never took real actions.
Well, they took some actions. As confirmed in Alberto Puig’s interview the China referee Dexin Wang was removed from the competition. He didn’t officiate in the second day of semifinals and finals. But surprise, surprise, the China official appeared in the referees/judges list in the last two Olympic qualification few months later. He worked in Baku (Azerbaijan) and in Vargas (Venezuela) and decided who deserves to go to Rio. In 2017 Dexin Wang still continues to be a 3-star AIBA referee and judge working in Olympic boxing tournaments.
Funny enough, but among his colleagues Wang is known as one of the fair referees/judges. His actions probably could be explained with his dependence by the Chinese federation. The fixer is working at Shanghai University of Sport. He never replied to the requests for his opinion about the case. Not only he was part of a bribery attempt, but he also broke the rules of the AIBA officials who are prohibit to make any contact with participants, coaches and national federation representatives during competitions.
On August 2 2016, just before the start of the Olympics Games, AIBA press officer Nicolas Jomard replied to a media request for confirmation of that case.
“We have taken note of the serious accusations made in your email however we did not receive any complaint of this nature during the AIBA Men World Championships 2015. We will wait for the publication of your article and take appropriate action if tangible proof is put forward”, says his e-mail.
Very interesting, because Alberto Puig said: “A commission in AIBA was created and those, who were involved, were expelled”…
Karim Bouzidi, who was also suspended during Olympics alone with The Magnificent Seven and later fired from his AIBA position, was contacted several times via e-mail, phone sms and through his friends to comment on that, but he never denied or confirm the bribery attempt. Alberto Puig and Ching-Kwo Wu decided to keep silent.
What was the reason for Ching-Kwo Wu and his most trusted lieutenants to keep the secret? It’s understandable that AIBA president is born in China’s city of Chongqing and probably he is rooting for China boxers, but is that enough to hide a clear violation of the Olympic spirit, rules, fair play etc…? We never could be sure about Mr. Wu’s intentions, but we are sure of some facts that followed the Doha’s shame.
In November 2015, Chinese company Alibaba Sports Group (AliSports), a division of the most powerful internet retailer on the planet Ali Baba Group, signed a deal with China boxing federation (CBF).
“Ali Sports will work closely with the CBF to promote CBF events and Chinese boxing culture among a larger target audience. It is understood that this comprehensive strategic partnership between Ali Sports and CBF involves a “huge” amount of money“, says an article at Yutang Sports, quoting sports.cn.
On January 23rd 2016 AIBA signed Memorandum of Understanding with AliSports. A year later, Ali Sports signed a contract with International Olympic committee where Ching-Kwo Wu is a member of Executive board. The deal was for $1 billion and included the next six Olympics Games! Thomas Bach was probably very happy and most likely will never remember the booing by the fans in Rio, the tears of screwed boxers or the insolent bribe attempt for an Olympic quota fight.
“From our very first conversations to the signing of this important deal for the future of boxing, AIBA has welcomed alisports’ valued input and we are pleased to be partnering with a company that shares our vision for the sport and is such a significant player in the world of e-commerce”, AIBA president Ching-Kwo Wu was quoted.
Alisports probably never knew about the Doha bribery case and all the dirt that surrounded questionable loan and investment agreements in AIBA. An attempt for a comment from their side was also made, but still there isn’t a reply.
In the next part of The dirty socks of Olympic boxing we will tell you the story of a new way to win an Olympic boxing match, called “security decision”. You need just a riot audience, few scared judges and you’ve got Rumble in the jungle II.
If you missed the first part of The dirty socks of Olympic boxing, where we told you how The Kazakhstan government invested $10 mil. into AIBA, check it out here.