The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has blasted comments made by Nigerian coach Tony Konyegwachie as “unacceptable” after he claimed judges were bribed by certain countries at the recent Olympic Qualification Event in Yaoundé.
Konyegwachie, who led the Nigerian team at the competition, where vital Rio 2016 quota places were on offer, told completesportsnigeria.com that "some countries, especially the North Africans, paid monies to win fights”.
He insisted nations such as Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia "had to pay to get the favour of the judge" during the event.
Nigeria sent a team of 10 boxers to the Olympic Qualification Event in the Cameroonian capital, with only super heavyweight Efe Ajagba earning a place at this summer’s Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Flyweight Caroline Linus missed out on gold in the women’s competition after she suffered defeat to Zohra Ez-Zahraoui of Morocco in the final.
“Our boxers were robbed,” Konyegwachie said.
“Fights involving Umar Sadiq, Caroline Linus and Efetobor Apochi were clear evidence.”
AIBA has strongly refuted the suggestions made by the Nigerian coach, accusing him of “blame-shifting” and making “non-warranted accusations” in a statement sent to insidethegames.
Boxing’s worldwide governing body dismissed suggestions of biased scoring and revealed they would conduct an internal review into the matter.
“Olympic Qualification represents the pinnacle of our sport and we understand that those who missed the qualification are disappointed but blame shifting and non-warranted accusations are unacceptable,” the statement read.
“The boxing community representatives should be gracious in victory and defeat.
“These types of comments show lack of respect towards the achievements of their opponents.
“The scoring system in AIBA is fair and transparent and closely monitored.
“It is recognised by all our 197 National Federations.
“We will be dealing with this issue internally and making no more further comment.”
The comments from the Nigerian coach came despite AIBA President CK Wu hailing the competition as a success which would help grow the sport of boxing in Cameroon.
Nigeria qualified two men and one woman for the London 2012 Olympics, who all failed to earn a medal.
Their poor performance at the tournament in Yaoundé, which ran from March 11 to 19, has been attributed to lack of preparation and training by Nigeria Amateur Boxing Federation secretary general Obisia Nwanpka.
He claimed the boxers who participated were not properly paid and that they “need to arrest this slide in our country’s sports”.
Nigeria do, however, have two more opportunities for their boxers to earn a Rio 2016 berth.
The last opportunity for Olympic qualification for the men comes at the 2016 World Olympic qualifier, due to be held in Baku from June 7 to 19, while spots at August's Games will be available for women at the Women's World Boxing Championships in Astana from May 19 to 27.