Korea boxing group warned: name chief, or else

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Korea boxing group warned: name chief, or else

The governing body of world amateur boxing threatened to strip Korea of its membership yesterday if it doesn’t name a chairman for its domestic boxing federation in the next couple weeks, deepening the politically charged strife between the two agencies.

Kim Ho, executive director of the International Amateur Boxing Association, gave the Korean Amateur Boxing Federation until Sept. 10 to fill the vacancy.

“If the boxing federation doesn’t establish a new leadership by Sept. 10, it will be stripped of boxing association membership,” Kim said. “The boxing association made this decision during the recent Youth Olympics in Singapore and has notified the Korean Olympic Committee.”

Without the boxing association’s membership, Korean boxers would be ineligible to compete in international competitions under the association’s auspices, including the Olympics, Asian Games and world championships.

“The Korean boxing federation is hurting the development of Korean boxing and the goal of the boxing association,” Kim added. “We normally wouldn’t interfere with our member nations’ federations, but the Korean federation’s conduct has become unbearable.”

The chairman’s seat has been vacant since Yoo Jae-joon was dismissed last December. The Korean Olympic Committee withdrew its appointment of Yoo on the basis of a Seoul court ruling that Yoo should be dismissed for making controversial remarks at a public seminar two years earlier. Yoo’s opponents within the Korean federation had taken his appointment to court.

Tensions between the boxing federation and the boxing association date back to November 2006, when during the election for chairman, Yoo supported Anwar Chowdhry, an opponent to the eventual winner Wu Ching-kuo.

Soon after Yoo was elected boxing federation chief in January last year, the boxing association suspended him for 18 months for sending an unauthorized team physician to an international event.

Even without Yoo at the helm, the boxing association continued to pressure the Korean federation. In July, the international body relocated the 2010 AIBA Congress from Busan to Almaty, Kazakhstan, and the 2011 world championships from Busan to Baku, Azerbaijan.

The Korean boxing federation has resisted the governing body’s pressure, arguing that it takes up to three weeks to organize the general meeting and hold the election for a chairman, making it logistically impossible to meet the Sept. 10 deadline.

The Korean Olympic Committee is seeking “a reasonable solution” to the problem, a senior official said.

“If the international body comes down this hard on us, we will be caught in a difficult position,” said Choi Jong-joon, secretary general of the committee. “We’re trying to find a reasonable solution before we get to that point.”

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