World boxing will come down hard on cheats in WSB

New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) As big money flows into boxing with the World Series of Boxing (WSB), the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) is firm on coming down hard on cheats and match fixers.

After a two-day seminar that concluded here Saturday with the Asian franchisees, Ivan Kohdabaksh, chief operating officer of WSB, admitted that the world body is concerned with match-fixing, which has always been a matter of concern in professional boxing in the US.

‘WSB is a global competition and with lot of money involved there will be situation when people will try to influence results. But the AIBA is firm on clearing the sport from cheats. We will have a disciplinary committee and will also train referees and judges, how to counter this menace in world sports,’ Khodabaksh told IANS.

Khodabaksh pointed out that professional boxing in US is promoted by individuals only with the aim of making money while the AIBA has launched WSB to popularise the sport.

‘We are not here to just make money. The AIBA is committed to make the sport popular so that boxers can make a living out of it,’ he said.

He also dismissed speculation that the pullout of London as one of the European franchise cities will hamper WSB’s popularity.

‘It was a disappointment, but we have to move on. We have other cities in Europe, like Milan, which hosted the World Championships and there is a huge interest,’ he said.

Khodabaksh also revealed that the Asian series will start from Nov 19 with Delhi playing their first round in Beijing. The other two Asian cities to have the WSB franchises are Baku in Azerbaijan and Astana in Kazhakstan.

The Delhi franchise has been bought by electronic giant Videocon, while the Beijing franchise is owned by a company called CBIJ. Astana is jointly owned by Kaz Energy and the country’s boxing federation while Gilan Holdings is the owner of Baku.

Khodabaksh said that he was happy with the first conference of all the Asian franchisees and said that challenges are that of marketing and broadcasting.

‘We still have some time and I assure that all will be sorted out and we will have a great event,’ he said.