Serik Konakbayev has warned delegates attending the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Congress here that the threat to the sport's future on the Olympic programme if his rival Gafur Rakhimov is elected President should not be taken lightly.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have warned that if Rakhimov, described as "one of Uzbekistan's leading criminals", is elected permanent head of AIBA then they could remove boxing from the programme at Tokyo 2020.
"I am sure that the IOC are serious," Konakbayev, a boxing silver medallist in the light welterweight division at the 1980 Moscow Games told insidethegames here today.
"There is a real risk that boxing could be removed from the Olympics."
The 58-year-old Kazakh, President of the Asian Boxing Confederation, was only officially added to the ballot paper two days ago for the Congress, due to take place at the Radisson Royal Hotel in the Russian capital tomorrow and Saturday (November 3), after a successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Konakbayev lodged an appeal to CAS, claiming his nomination forms for President were received on September 24, a day after the September 23 midnight deadline set by AIBA in its statutes.
CAS upheld his appeal that his nomination should be valid under Swiss law as September 23 was a Sunday and, therefore, not a working day.
Konakbayev had launched his campaign in September but admitted he would have liked more time to get his message across and warn voters of the dangers of electing Rakhimov.
If AIBA loses Olympic status it is not just funding which will disappear, but the Olympic dreams of young boxers - of which I was one pic.twitter.com/t4YSBlylTk— Serik K.Konakbayev (@9456333) November 1, 2018
Rakhimov has failed in his attempts to get his name removed from a blacklist compiled by the United States Department of the Treasury which he has been on since 2012.
He is on the list because he is allegedly part of criminal organisation that includes citizens of the former republics of the Soviet Union known as Brothers' Circle and which has links to the heroin trade.
Rakhimov denies he has done anything illegal and his name was removed from Interpol's most wanted list in July.
The 67-year-old, who divides his time between the United Arab Emirates and Moscow, remains the clear favourite to be elected, despite support for Konakbayev from several leading European and Asian countries.
"Unfortunately we started [campaigning] later - it is a big issue for me and my team," Konakbayev said.
"But I hope we get good results and, of course, I believe we can win."