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  • AIBA Presidential Candidate Wants Better Communication


    (ATR) Suleyman Mikayilov requests valuable input from AIBA’s 203 national federations as the race for the presidency of the embattled international boxing federation heats up.

    Suleyman Mikayilov (AIBA)
    The former Azerbaijani boxer and AIBA presidential candidate sent an 18-question survey seeking opinions on topical issues, governance issues including gender equality, views on future leaders, competition representation and suggestions on best methods to lift the federation’s IOC suspension.

    Mikayilov insists that poor communication and inner turmoil amongst the national federations has been one of AIBA’s largest problems, something he believes he can fix if elected president at an upcoming virtual congress and election, Dec. 12-13.

    “I believe it (communication) has very much has been lacking and they have not received the support that I hope to bring them should I be successful,” Mikayilov tells Around the Rings. “There is an urgent need to tackle the problems the federations are facing at this moment.

    “The whole purpose of communicating with them to give us their views is so we can improve boxing and life for boxer,” he said. “By helping boxing’s developing countries, we have a better chance of a more sustainable future as an international federation.”

    Mikayilov plans to develop his manifesto after taking into account all feedback and considerations of the 203 members.

    “They all face independent challenges which I will place a sustained focus on,” he said. “AIBA can’t achieve success by ignoring National Federations that have financial constraints.

    “I want to speak to each of them individually to understand what they see as the challenges so we have a clear understanding of how we can support them in the future.

    “I already know there are many urgent priorities facing AIBA. This includes a complete shake up of our governance including gender equity, democratic issues and ethics.

    Mikayilov believes that he can mend ties with the IOC.

    Anas Al Otaiba joined the race this week. (UAE Boxing Federation)
    “As someone who has been a boxer, the pinnacle of our sport is the Olympic Games,” Mikayilov says. “I want to take on board everything I hear from the IOC and show to them that if I am successful, AIBA’s first priority is to prove how we can be a member of the Olympic Family.”

    Mikaylov’s action plan comes as UAE Boxing Federation president and AIBA Executive Committee member Anas Al Otaiba announces his intentions for the AIBA leadership role this week. Al Otaiba is the third candidate to throw his hat in the ring.

    Al Otaiba joins Mikayilov and Bienvenido Solano of the Dominican Republic as official candidates.

    Umar Kremlev, secretary general of the Russian Boxing Federation (RBF), is expected to join the race before the November 2 deadline to enter. He told TASS on Wednesday that he has recovered from coronavirus and was being discharged from the hospital more than a week after he tested positive for Covid-19.

    Mohamed Moustahsane has not announced his intentions for president yet. (AIBA)
    The interim AIBA president Mohamed Moustahsane of Morocco has not announced his intentions yet. He took over following the resignation of Uzbekistan’s Gafur Rakhimov in March 2019.

    Moustahsane this week called for the IOC to support the federation in its efforts to strengthen governance and transparency.

    “AIBA has made great strides in the past year. We have been very attentive to the recommendations of the IOC Task Force. I hope the IOC will support us on this journey to bring in the best practices, so AIBA can return to the Olympics for Paris 2024,” he said in a statement.

    Moustahsane said the IOC’s monitoring group should meet regularly with AIBA, to discuss the progress in reforms, before reporting back to the IOC. That would ensure the IOC is kept up-to-date with the latest steps being taken by AIBA, he added.

    AIBA, which has been suspended by the IOC since 2019 for a litany of governance and ethics transgressions, must solve the issues that led to its sanction, while also eliminating millions in debt that remains on its books.

    Mikayilov says he deserves the confidence of the member federations and is the right candidate to help AIBA battle its way out of the corner.

    “First, I love boxing - I have grown up with the sport, been a champion in my own country and I have been involved with AIBA for many decades,” Mikayilov said. “Through AIBA, I have been part of the Olympic Games as an official and I am deeply passionate about reinstating AIBA as a force for good, with the help of all the federations around the world.

    “As I have already stated, I want this year to be year one of the new AIBA and for us to start on a positive new future by deep changes,” he said.

    Homepage photo: AIBA

    Written and reported by Brian Pinelli

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