ATR Extra: Candidate Al Otaiba Calls Secret Critics Cowards

(ATR) The AIBA presidential candidate from the UAE defends himself via Instagram.

(ATR) Anas Al Otaiba defended his reputation and threatened legal action against people circulating stories about him that he said are untrue.

"I am shocked by such misleading news that is maliciously aimed at directing public opinion towards a specific candidate to (raise) doubts about him," he wrote in an Instagram post.

Al Otaiba is one of seven candidates for president of AIBA, the international boxing federation which is currently suspended by the IOC.

In its remarks about AIBA on Wednesday, the IOC Executive Board said it will also "take into consideration" concerns raised against some of the candidates for president and "their potential impact on recognition." However, no candidates were identified in the press release.

In the Instagram post addressed to presidents and secretaries general, Al Otaiba wrote in his capacity as UAE Boxing Federation President:

"Dear Boxing Family,

My name has been fictitiously used over the recent days by cowardly people using false names and dishonestly seeking to link me with people or candidates associated with International Boxing Association. From this point forward, I emphasize that I will take all legal procedures against such fraudulent practices whose perpetrators are hiding under false names."

Al Otaiba, who is also head of the Asian Boxing Confederation and a member of the AIBA Executive Committee, was an ally of Gafur Rakhimov of Uzbekistan, the former AIBA president who stepped down in 2019 in the wake of allegations that he was involved in heroin trafficking.

Al Otaiba, who became involved with boxing in 2012 and quickly rose through the international ranks, stressed that he was not associated with any "current or former person associated with AIBA outside the institutional framework of this honorable organization, nor do I have any personal relationship with anyone; and I will not contact anyone who may have any harmful effect on the sport of boxing."

Al Otaiba stressed that he is a "totally independent candidate."

The election for AIBA president will be held on Dec. 12, the first day of a two-day virtual Congress in which a new constitution is also on the agenda. AIBA must undertake major reforms to get back in the good graces of the IOC and the international community.

"All of these rumors circulated about me over the past period are misleading and aims at distracting the national federations," Al Otaiba wrote.

"The report of the International Olympic Committee is crystal clear and straightforward, and it is considered a road map towards reform. It also explicitly includes names that pose a threat to the future of boxing, so we should not be misled by those wishing to deceive us because the truth of our beloved sport is much greater than their fabrications."

Reported by Karen Rosen.

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