István Kovács is a two-time Olympic medallist ©Getty Images

Olympic champion István Kovács has been appointed secretary general of the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

The Hungarian, who won bantamweight gold at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics, was approved to assume the role by the AIBA Board of Directors yesterday.

Kovács will take up the position this week and is posied to play a pivotal role in the embattled organisation's attempt to be reinstated as the Olympic governing body for boxing.

"I am very grateful for the confidence placed in me by the AIBA Board of Directors," Kovács, who also won two world titles and a bronze medal at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics, said.

"It is a great honor and at the same time a great responsibility to become the secretary general of the International Boxing Association and to work together with President Umar Kremlev, a man who lives by boxing. 

"Now AIBA is undergoing a period of global reforms. 

"All of them are necessary for boxing to develop as a sport loved by millions of people around the globe so that our athletes and coaches show the best results in international competitions at all levels. 

"I see that the new AIBA leadership is heading in the right direction and is committed to working with full dedication to support and reinforce this course of positive change. 

"I pledge to act in the best interests of boxing and guarantee maximum openness and democracy in my work. 

"I am sure that together we will be able to carry out all the necessary reforms and bring AIBA to a fundamentally new level."

When advertising for the position, AIBA said that the secretary general will oversee the administrative work of the organisation while managing the head office in Lausanne and report directedly to President Kremlev.

István Kovács vowed to
István Kovács vowed to "act in the best interests of boxing and guarantee maximum openness and democracy in my work" ©Getty Images

Nobody has served in the role since Tom Virgets was removed as executive director - a similar position - in August 2019 after a vote by the Executive Committee, which has since been rebranded as the Board of Directors.

American Virgets took the job in January 2018, replacing Frenchman William Louis-Marie.

Kremlev claimed that Kovács will bring "a fundamentally new efficiency level and transparency of management" to AIBA, which was stripped of its Olympic status by the International Olympic Committee in June 2019 over issues including governance, finances, anti-doping and refereeing and judging, so is not overseeing the boxing tournament at this year's delayed Tokyo 2020 Games.

"The fate of our organisation has to be decided and will be decided by the boxers themselves," declared Kremlev.

"They have dedicated their entire lives to boxing, they know it from the inside and understand the needs for our sport effective development better than any managers. 

"Therefore, I am pleased to announce that the Board of Directors members have approved István Kovács as AIBA secretary general. 

"István Kovács is a two-time World Champion and an Olympic champion, boxing is life and AIBA is a family for him. 

"I am positive that as secretary general he will be able to bring AIBA to a fundamentally new efficiency level and transparency of management."

Kremlev, formerly secretary general of the Russian Boxing Federation, was elected AIBA President in December.

The World Boxing Organization, which sanctions professional fights, lists Kovács as chair of its European Board at the time of writing.

Kovács was previously a member of the Budapest 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games Bid Committee, before the Hungarian capital withdrew from the race.