The International Boxing Association on Thursday said that an independent investigation has “identified a system for manipulating the bouts” at the 2016 Rio Olympics and officials for the upcoming men’s world championship will be put through a “tough” selection process to ensure the integrity of the competition.

In a statement, AIBA said it has been handed the first phase report of the McLaren Global Sport Solutions’ independent investigation into boxing.

“AIBA noted the findings regarding the Rio 2016 boxing tournament with concern and confirmed that extensive reforms have been implemented to ensure sporting integrity at current AIBA competitions,” the body, which is trying to regain affiliation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), stated.

Referees, judges and technical officials being appointed to the World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia from October 24 now face tough selection criteria, including background and other checks conducted by MGSS, which is headed by Professor Richard McLaren.

“A random selection element has been introduced during the competition and further training will be carried out onsite, including but not limited to, a module on enhanced ethics and behavioural provisions.

“Comprehensive mechanisms are in place to evaluate scoring, and scoring is now displayed live during bouts,” the world body said.

McLaren was appointed by AIBA to investigate and suggest reforms in governance, and sporting and financial integrity, as demanded by the IOC, which recently stated that there are deep concerns about boxing’s future in the Olympic roster going forward.

McLaren is investigating not only the Rio Olympics boxing tournament but also all key events till now to reach full transparency. The Rio Games boxing competition was marred by allegations of dubious judging and led to the suspension of over 30 officials.

“Professor McLaren and his team have identified a system for manipulating the results of bouts at the Rio 2016 boxing tournament. I am determined to ensure that boxers receive a fair fight,” said AIBA President Umar Kremlev.

“This determination is demonstrated by AIBA’s clear commitment to uncovering the truth and acting on it.

“We must now carefully examine the report and see what steps are needed to ensure justice. What is important is that we make sure the mechanisms are in place to show that results are above suspicion,” he added.

Kremlev became involved in amateur boxing as Secretary-General of the Russian Boxing Federation in 2017, before joining the AIBA board in 2018 and becoming President in 2020.

MGSS will continue investigating more recent boxing tournaments and also the “activity of individuals previously involved in the management and administration of AIBA.”

“AIBA hired Professor McLaren because we have nothing to hide,” continued Kremlev.

“We will work to incorporate any helpful recommendations that are made. We will also take legal advice with regard to what action is possible against those found to have participated in any manipulation.

There should be no place in the AIBA family for anyone who has fixed a fight.”