A warning from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Gafur Rakhimov standing for President of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) seems to have begun to turn the tide against him with momentum appearing to swing behind Kazakhstan's Serik Konakbayev.
AIBA's executive vice-president Franco Falcinelli has urged Executive Committee members to join him in backing Konakbayev for the position.
In a letter sent to the Executive Committee and Rakhimov, seen by insidethegames, Falcinelli admitted they are in a "choice between the great risk of supporting Mr Gafur or promoting an alternative to lead AIBA".
The Italian claimed he decided to support Konakbayev "to be eligible to run for the Presidency of AIBA" as a result of the ultimatum issued by the IOC.
insidethegames exclusively revealed earlier this week that the IOC had directly told Rakhimov that his candidacy for President could put boxing's Olympic place at Tokyo 2020 at further risk because of the Uzbek's links to alleged organised crime.
In a letter sent to Rakhimov, IOC chief ethics and compliance officer Päquerette Girard Zappelli warned it will be "crucial in the best interests of boxing within the Olympic Movement that only candidates benefiting from a full clean situation can stand for the President's position".
The letter was part of a concerted campaign from the IOC to attempt to ensure Rakhimov, who remains on the United States Department of the Treasury's sanctions list as "one of Uzbekistan's leading criminals", does not run for President.
Falcinelli, who had been considered an ally of Rakhimov as he stood aside as interim President to allow the Uzbek to assume the role, admitted IOC head Thomas Bach has "blatantly expressed his non-acceptance of Gafur under no circumstance and confirmed the ineligibility of Gafur as the possible AIBA President".
"For me, the time has come for our choices and decisions for the future of our sport and AIBA," Falcinelli wrote in the letter dated yesterday.
"We must ensure a bright and concrete future with the Olympic movement (sic) for the sake of our boxers.
"Considering all situations, I decided not to be one of causes of boxing to be excluded from the Olympic Games, also I believe all of you have the same principles.
"We are in a choice between the great risk of supporting Mr Gafur or promoting an alternative to lead AIBA.
"Thus, I decided to help Mr Serik Konakbayev to be eligible to run for the Presidency of AIBA."
Falcinelli's call appears to have already been heeded within some of the AIBA membership, with the England Boxing Association confirming they support Konakbayev's bid for the Presidency.
In a statement, England Boxing chairman Casper Hobbs claimed their decision "reflects our desire to ensure amateur boxing has a healthy and prosperous future and remains an integral sport within the Olympic Movement".
Other AIBA members share the concerns of the IOC and believe Rakhimov should not permanently assume the position, while others claim he is the best candidate despite the controversy.
In a statement published after the warning from the IOC became public, Rakhimov remained defiant, claiming AIBA members "will not be influenced by any rumours".
"I would like to conclude by sharing with the AIBA family this following thought: For over 20 years AIBA has been my life and I would like you all to rest assured that I would never in any way, shape or form put our wonderful sport in jeopardy," Rakhimov, still set to stand for the job on a permanent basis, added.
Falcinelli himself is eligible to run for the Presidency but has decided to throw his backing behind Konakbayev, also an AIBA vice-president and head of the Asian Boxing Confederation.
Rakhimov denies any wrongdoing but he is on the Treasury list under six different identities including the Gafur Rakhimov name in connection with his alleged links to a notorious international criminal network known as "
The Presidential election is scheduled to be held at the AIBA Congress in Moscow on November 2 and 3.