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JABF chief Akira Yamane digs in, won’t resign over multiple allegations

Kyodo

Japan Amateur Boxing Federation president Akira Yamane said Friday he is not considering stepping down over a number of allegations he is facing, including forcing referees to rig decisions.

“I am not thinking about resigning over these allegations. The federation did not commit any flaws,” Yamane said in a live appearance on Nippon TV.

Despite apologizing for “causing a stir,” Yamane has denied the allegation that the JABF instructed referees to make bad judgements in response to a complaint filed last month by a privately formed amateur boxing support group.

“I swear I didn’t do it. I never talk about matches,” he told Kyodo News in an interview on Thursday, adding he is considering filing a defamation lawsuit against the group led by former JABF board member Yoshio Tsuruki.

In the complaint sent to the Japanese Olympic Committee, the 333-member group referred to a first-round bout at the 2016 National Sports Festival in Iwate Prefecture, where a local boxer lost on a split decision to a Nara Prefecture boxer despite knocking him down twice.

According to sources, there has been talk that Yamane, a 78-year-old Nara native, has given unfair advantage to boxers representing the prefecture.

“People would know right away if the allegations were true. I don’t even watch bouts of boxers from Nara,” Yamane said.

The group is asking that the JABF be investigated and the relevant parties penalized over 12 specific issues, including misuse of grant money. According to sources, the complaint was sent by mail to the JOC, the Japan Sports Agency and the Japan Sport Association (JSPO), among others.

In response, the JOC and the JSPO have decided to demand that a third-party panel investigate the boxing federation.

“It is important for the JABF to disclose each relevant fact, and handle the allegations accordingly,” sports minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Friday. “The JSA has advised the two organizations to cooperate with each other and take on this problem quickly.”

The allegation has prompted an ongoing inter-high school meet in Gifu Prefecture to record its matches to prevent any misjudgment by referees.