Ex-Incheon mayor now president of boxing bodyFormer Incheon Mayor Ahn Sang-soo was elected on Thursday to become president of Korea’s boxing governing body, which had been in conflict with the sport’s international governing organization.
Ahn, a 64-year-old former lawmaker of the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) who served as Incheon mayor from 2002-2010, garnered nine of 15 votes from board members of the Korea Amateur Boxing Federation (KABF), defeating Representative Gu Sang-chan of the GNP in an election to fill the vacant presidency.
“I will look for ways to encourage unity instead of conflict in boxing circles,” said Ahn. “Through strong performances at the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Seoul Summer Games, boxing raised the status of Korean athletics but I think we’ve hit a stagnant period.”
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) demanded in late August that the KABF find new leadership after letting go of the former president, Yoo Jae-joon, whom the KABF accused of tarnishing its reputation.
Yoo, who has been suspended for more than nine months since last December by South Korea’s top sports governing body, the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) - which refused to endorse him - officially stepped down from the post on Sept. 9.
The AIBA stripped the KABF of its membership earlier this month and banned Korean boxers from competing at any international competitions, claiming that the KABF did not budge an inch to name a new president.
The KOC dissolved the KABF’s leadership and took control of the boxing federation to hold the election.
Following the KOC’s decision, the AIBA lifted the sanctions imposed on the boxers, but has not yet reinstated the KABF.
“During my tenure as the mayor of Incheon, as we won the bid to host the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, I had the opportunity to meet many domestic and foreign sports figures, as well as those involved in the sport of boxing,” said Ahn. “Korean boxing needs to improve its status at the international level. I will work to correct that starting with the AIBA general meeting in November.”
Tensions between the KABF and AIBA date to November 2006 when the Korean body supported Anwar Chowdhry for the AIBA presidency, against the eventual winner, Wu Ching-kuo.
The AIBA suspended the KABF president for 18 months for sending an unauthorized team physician to an international event.
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.