Richard McLaren has published the third stage of his report into AIBA and bout manipulation ©Getty Images

Manipulation of bouts continued "unabated" at several major boxing events following the match-rigging system in operation at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as the International Boxing Association (AIBA) allowed corruption to flourish, an independent investigation has found.

Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren revealed bouts were manipulated at events including this year's World Youth Championships in Poland in the third stage of his report into match-fixing and corruption at AIBA.

A "prime character" in this was former executive director Karim Bouzidi, the Frenchman who led the "bout manipulation" scheme at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

McLaren said Bouzidi's "deception and concealment" continued long after he was dismissed following the Games in the Brazilian city as AIBA's "revolving door of top management provided the environment where the corruption and manipulation could continue with similar intensity to the conduct at Rio".

"A system of manipulation was enabled by the organisational problems in the interregnum period," the report states. 

"The manipulation of bouts that existed and flourished from 2016 to 2021 was more ad-hoc and less centralised than what was found to be present at Rio."

McLaren's findings built on his first report in September, which confirmed matches had been fixed at Rio 2016.

The investigation team uncovered suspicious bouts at the 2021 AIBA World Youth Championships in Poland ©AIBA
The investigation team uncovered suspicious bouts at the 2021 AIBA World Youth Championships in Poland ©AIBA

One witness told the investigation team that he feared he would be "dead" if he spoke out against the deputy supervisor of the 2016 World Youth Championships in Saint-Petersburg, who McLaren said had continually tried to corrupt referees and judges to manipulate the scoring at the event.

McLaren found there were at least three suspicious bouts at the Championships in the Russian city, where a "covert signalling" system, as well as "verbal pressure" from the likes of the supervisor, occurred.

There were also "several" bouts with questionable results at the 2017 World Championships in Hamburg, according to McLaren.

A referee and judge (R&J) from Azerbaijan was allegedly involved in attempts to influence the scoring at the event in the German city and made a similar approach to another official at the Asian Olympic qualifier in Jordan last March.

"This R&J intimated that money was available should it be required to secure the witness’ vote," McLaren said.

The investigation also found "pre-bout collusion" among a specific group of R&Js at the 2021 World Youth Championships in Kielce, who worked together to ensure they gave the same scores in the bouts they officiated in.

This involved "prior verbal communication in the R&J lounge of the predetermined outcome to those R&Js in the inner group" - described as a "Russian clique" - and "signalling to ringside R&Js with their eyes at the end of each round".

The third step of the process included "pressuring R&Js outside of their clique to score as they directed".

"What appears to have occurred in Poland is a very clear example of the way in which the legacy of the vanquished executive director, Karim Bouzidi, and the five-stars was filled by a clique of Russian speaking R&Js who attempted to manipulate certain bouts," the report said.

McLaren offered positive reflections on AIBA under Russian President Umar Kremlev ©Getty Images
McLaren offered positive reflections on AIBA under Russian President Umar Kremlev ©Getty Images

McLaren's team added that AIBA failed to sufficiently follow up the allegations made following the Championships in the Polish city.

The Canadian lawyer also criticised AIBA's inept disciplinary procedures which allowed such instances to happen without proper investigation.

He warned "evidence is emerging that bout manipulation may be occurring to facilitate gambling syndicates", adding that further investigation was required.

McLaren did offer positive reflections on AIBA under Russian President Umar Kremlev, claiming there has been a "noticeable improvement in the operation and administration" since he took charge of the embattled Federation in December 2020.

AIBA was suspended as the Olympic governing body for the sport by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in June 2019 because of the organisation's concerns with AIBA's finances, refereeing and judging and governance.

It was stripped of the right to organise the Olympic boxing tournament at Tokyo 2020, instead run by a group of IOC members and officials, and may not be reinstated in time for Paris 2024.

Boxing has also been left off the initial programme for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles by the IOC, which has told AIBA to address its ongoing concerns before the sport can be included, with a final decision due in 2023.