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‘No one should shatter a boxer’s destiny’: Ring legend Roy Jones teams up with AIBA president Kremlev to rid boxing of corruption

‘No one should shatter a boxer’s destiny’: Ring legend Roy Jones teams up with AIBA president Kremlev to rid boxing of corruption
International Boxing Association boss Umar Kremlev has joined Russian-American icon Roy Jones Jr to promise again to clean up the sport, calling corrupt judging "a huge crime" and pledging to name the perpertrators "name by name".

New president Kremlev sat alongside multiple former champion Jones Jr, elaborating on his plans in the company of a fitting figurehead in the form of a man who is felt to have been cheated at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 to such an extent that he is expected to be re-awarded the gold medal he deserved.

Former Russian Boxing Federation Secretary General Kremlev watched on in consternation as the International Olympic Committee suspended the association from the Olympic family in 2019, citing serious financial, judging and ethics breaches to compound its already-tattered reputation and synonymity with corruption.

"The AIBA's rules, as I have already promised all boxers, will be clear and precise and fair," said Kremlev at a press conference, explaining that he has dedicated his life to the sport he loves and calling it his "pleasure" to be a part of the ambitious plan to overhaul its image.

Also on rt.com ‘Great crimes’: AIBA president Kremlev commissions McLaren report into boxing corruption at Rio 2016 Olympic Games and beyond

"I thank the boxing family for trusting me to manage this and that they fully help me in this work. And as we are an independent organisation, the future of AIBA can be decided only by the boxers themselves.

"Unfortunately, the former governing body left us with a questionable past which we will change together with the boxers and the national federations.

"Judging is a very important point. Every boxing official should understand that they aren’t in charge of boxing. I myself haven’t come to take charge of boxing. I came to help.

"Every sporting official in boxing should understand that they are a servant to all boxers and trainers, including me. We all know what happened before us was a huge crime – but not on our watch.

"A huge decision has been taken and we have achieved a lot already and most importantly, all boxers and the boxing family are with us."

Also on rt.com ‘Roy Jones Jr. still asks for his gold medal!’ President Kremlev tells RT Sport about returning AIBA to the Olympic family (VIDEO)

Kremlev was at pains to point out one of the cruellest aspects of dubious judging decisions, when athletes who have gone through years of gruelling training have their dreams swiped from them by pre-destined cards.

"For me, judging is a huge crime," he observed. "A fighter trains for five or ten years. And at some point a person or a group of people shatters his destiny.

"It’s like a mechanic who hasn’t built a plane properly and it falls from the sky and then afterwards he doesn’t take responsibility. It’s the worst thing in the world. And the boxing family chose me as president to communicate with all boxers and national federations and also to create such conditions so that no one could break them.

"Do you understand what hellish work an athlete goes through to become champion? I was involved in boxing myself. I saw with my own eyes unfair judging decisions.

"We need to do everything possible so that it doesn’t happen again. And for that, we attract boxers [to advise] who dedicated their whole lives to boxing – those who know, from inside, what needs to be done.

"Together with people who have lived through and know boxing, I will undertake reforms. Not only we will help sort it out but we will bring in independent experts to pick out and assess those that were involved in it."

One of the first steps Kremlev has overseen is the appointment of lawyer Richard McLaren to guide an investigation into judging, with a particular focus on the controversial boxing matches of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

He has no intention of allowing bygone judging scandals to be consigned to history.

"They often tell me to forget about the past and concentrate on the future," explained Kremlev. "No. I want to figure out why we came to this. Before today, nobody had named these people. I want to name them by name and know why everything went the way it did within AIBA.

"There’s no need to be afraid to remove those mistakes, to remove those people so that they can’t damage anything anymore and move forward. And move on to a great future.

"I don’t make decisions alone. We chose a greatly experienced person who knows this field who will carry out a precise and honest investigation.

"I am sure that, as regards judging and in the future, we will not just review the judging in the 2016 Olympics; we will ethically review the Asian championships in Dubai, because there were a lot of issues that happened there.

"We will always bring in independent, authoritative individuals to assess the tournaments. And we will 100 percent fully clean up boxing. I would like to say that I will personally never let anyone shatter the dreams of a boxer.

"I would like professor McLaren to carry out more of our future investigation and thank him for his work. We will await his findings."

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