British and Commonwealth Super-Middleweight Champion George Groves has been nominated the Best Young Boxer of the Year by the prestigious Boxing Writers’ Club for 2011.
The 23-year-old from Hammersmith won the Lonsdale belt from James DeGale in a close contest in May at London’s O2 Arena.
A delighted Groves said, “I am chuffed to have been voted Young Boxer of the Year. There are a lot of talented fighters in the UK at the moment and to just be considered for this fantastic award is fantastic. I thank everyone who has voted for me and my team who have helped guide me through a testing year.”
Unbeaten Groves will have his first fight for promoter Frank Warren on November 5th at the Wembley Arena when he defends his titles against former British Champion Paul Smith, exclusively live on BoxNation on Sky platform Channel 456.
Groves is the seventeenth boxer promoted by Warren to have won the award, following last year’s winner Nathan Cleverly, now the WBO World Light-Heavyweight Champion.
Warren said, “It’s fantastic news that George has been awarded the Best Young Boxer of the Year award. He’s got a big fight coming up against Paul Smith on November 5th in London that will be shown live on BoxNation.”
Adam Booth, Groves’ manager, said, “Many thanks to the Boxing Writers’ Club. Our aim is to do this award justice by turning this young boxer into a world champion.”
Joseph Williams to Replace Michael Hunter on the 2011 World Championships Squad
(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Following Michael Hunter’s (Las Vegas, Nev.) voluntary withdrawal from the 2011 AIBA Men’s World Championships, Joseph Williams (Queens, N.Y.) will represent the United States at the heavyweight division in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Williams was the silver medalist in the heavyweight division at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s Boxing, and won a bronze medal at the 2011 USA Boxing National Championships. Despite a late start in boxing, the 23-year-old Williams enjoyed a breakout year in 2011 and could earn a berth in London with a top six finish in Baku. He joins fellow New Yorker Marcus Browne (Staten Island, N.Y.) on the U.S. squad.
World Championships action will begin on Monday following Sunday’s official event draw. Live scoring will be shown on AIBA’s website at www.aiba.org, and for information on the event and the U.S. team, go to www.usaboxing.org.
USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States’ member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
AIBA Announces Establishment of Special Investigation Committe
Lausanne, Switzerland, 23 September 2011 – AIBA and WSB deny in the strongest possible terms that they accepted an investment from Azerbaijan in exchange for two gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics – or indeed for any improper purpose.
The President of AIBA, Dr Ching-Kuo Wu has announced the establishment of the AIBA Special Investigation Committee to investigate allegations made on BBC Newsnight. While this exemplifies AIBA’s zero tolerance attitude to corruption and absolute commitment to ensuring transparency in the sport of boxing, at this stage AIBA is not aware of any credible evidence to suggest that the allegation that WSB’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr Ivan Khodabakhsh, promised the award of two gold medals in return for payment is true. Ivan Khodabakhsh is a man of integrity and AIBA trusts him and respects his work. Mr. Khodabakhsh has confirmed to AIBA that he will cooperate fully and freely with the AIBA Special Investigation Committee.
In 2010 an agreement was signed between WSB SA, a Swiss incorporated company which runs the World Series of Boxing competition under the auspices of the AIBA, and a Swiss company for a loan in respect of the operation of WSB’s American franchises.
The Swiss company facilitated the making of the loan, which originated from an Azerbaijani private investor. The loan was not “secret” and nor was there anything improper about it. It was an arms length transaction between two entities made on a commercial basis and with a view to a commercial return for the investor.
While that investor prefers not to be named, as is their right under the terms of the agreement, AIBA/WSB can confirm that it is a private investor and is NOT the Azerbaijani Government (whether a ministry or any other arm of the government) or the Azerbaijani Boxing Federation and that none of the funds were derived from the Azerbaijani Government.
Any suggestion that the loan was made in return for promises of gold medals at the 2012 Olympics is, we repeat, preposterous and utterly untrue. AIBA/WSB believe that such allegations have been made by individuals with an axe to grind, who are totally discredited. As well as unjustifiably imputing corruption to AIBA/WSB, they demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of the procedures which now lead to the award of Olympic boxing medals and the impossibility of influencing these.
Mr Khodabakhsh has made the following statement:
“The allegations that have been made against WSB and me are all completely groundless and false. I have never been asked to nor have I ever undertaken anything illegal or unethical in the course of my duties working for WSB. I am proud to work for an organisation which has brought such a high level of transparency and honesty to the sport of boxing and has shown zero tolerance of corruption. I adhere to these values.
“I am ready to personally take any possible measures to clear my name and prove that the accusations are false and without any ground. As an officer of WSB I have no position in AIBA and I have no involvement in the Olympic Games. It is absolutely ridiculous to even think of me having any possibility of influencing the award of Olympic medals in any way.”
The BBC programme included interviews with several individuals. One interviewee, Jeffrey Benz, is a former manager of a WSB Franchise in the United States, whose contract with WSB was terminated after less than three months. The programme also contained an interview with Rudel Obreja. Mr. Obreja is currently serving a five year suspension from AIBA for serious breaches of the AIBA Disciplinary Code, information that was not shared by the BBC. Two individuals, who made very serious allegations in the programme, refused to reveal their identity on camera, giving no opportunity to test their credibility. If such individuals are not prepared to publicly stand behind their allegations, such allegations cannot be regarded as either sound or credible. The AIBA Special Investigation Committee will start its work by asking the BBC to send them all the material on which they relied for the purposes of their programme, and they note that the IOC President, Jacques Rogge, has also called for this, which they welcome.
While the report made several references to the award of a gold medal to a South Korean boxer in suspicious circumstances at the 1988 Olympics it completely failed to make clear that a new and wholly different and transparent scoring system has been introduced and will be used at the upcoming World Boxing Championships and the London 2012 Olympic Games to ensure fair play at all times. This includes publicly displaying each individual judge’s scoring immediately after each round is completed. Had this been the case in Seoul in 1988, manipulation by a judge or judges would have immediately been apparent.
With the approval of the AIBA Executive Committee, the AIBA President has immediately launched the AIBA Special Investigation Committee made up of the individuals listed below to examine the allegations.
The Committee members are:
1. Tom Virgets – Chairman of AIBA Disciplinary Commission
2. Humbert Furgoni – Member of AIBA Ethics Commission and Chairman of WSB Commission
3. Dennis O’Connell – Member of AIBA Disciplinary Commission
4. Antonio de Guzman – Member of AIBA Disciplinary Commission
5. Ricardo Contreras – AIBA Legal Counsel
The Chairman, Mr Tom Virgets, will immediately convene the first investigatory meeting at the AIBA World Boxing Championships currently being held in Baku.