Serik Konakbayev has been cleared to stand in the AIBA Presidential election ©ASBC

Serik Konakbayev has been cleared to stand in the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Presidential election after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld his appeal today.

The Asian Boxing Confederation head was initially prevented from standing in the election following a dispute over whether his nominations were received in time.

He lodged an appeal to CAS, arguing his nomination forms for President were received on September 24, a day after the September 23 midnight deadline set by AIBA in its statutes.

The President of the Asian Boxing Confederation claimed, however, that his nominations should be valid under Swiss law as September 23 was a Sunday and, therefore, not a working day.

An expedited procedure was agreed by the parties, with a hearing having taken place yesterday here in Lausanne.

"The CAS Panel found that the AIBA Election Committee treated all candidates equally and acted in good faith," a CAS statement read.

"However, the Panel emphasised that the Election Committee unduly refused the nominations returned on a wrong form by several federations in support of their candidate, while such nominations should have been considered as being validly expressed.

"Therefore, the Panel acknowledged that Serik Konakbayev reached the threshold of 20 nominations supporting his candidature for the AIBA Presidency within the relevant time limit."

The election is scheduled to take place on Saturday (November 3) at the AIBA Congress in Moscow.

Konakbayev will now go head-to-head with Uzbekistan's Gafur Rakhimov for the Presidency, which comes with boxing's future on the Olympic programme in doubt.

"I would sincerely like to thank CAS and its panel members for their totally transparent and fair decision on my appeal," said Konakbayev.

"I am delighted that CAS understood the arguments we submitted, and I am honoured to be on the list of the candidates for the AIBA Presidency. 

"Now, I have a chance to seek the leadership role to rebuild our organisation and the sport I dearly love, working together with our National Federations.

"I will give my best efforts to win the Presidency, not for me, I want to do it for the protection of the best interests of our boxers and their Olympic dreams and aspirations. 

"I take this responsibility very seriously and look forward to the election on November 3 in Moscow and want to ask all AIBA members to support my candidacy to help build a new AIBA and 'Make Boxing Great Again.'"

Gafur Rahkimov will now be challenged at the AIBA Congess on November 3 ©AIBA
Gafur Rahkimov will now be challenged at the AIBA Congess on November 3 ©AIBA

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have explicitly warned Rakhimov's candidacy, and his potential election as President, puts boxing's place on the programme at Tokyo 2020 in serious jeopardy owing to his alleged links to organised crime.

Rakhimov is described as "one of Uzbekistan's leading criminals" on a United States Treasury Department sanctions list but denies wrongdoing.

The IOC has suggested an Olympic boxing tournament could still take place at Tokyo 2020 even if they remove AIBA's recognition, which would end their ability to organise it.

Rakhimov, interim AIBA President since January, has promised to "personally lead" the development of the organisation's governance systems if elected.

His manifesto outlined four "key pillars" - govern and inspire, develop and grow, educate and empower and tell and sell.

Rakhimov remains the favourite to be elected AIBA President on a permanent basis.

His rival Konakbayev had been allowed by AIBA to continue his campaign while the CAS proceedings were ongoing as a "gesture of fair play".

The 58-year-old Kazhak administrator, a boxing silver medallist in the light welterweight division at the 1980 Moscow Games, launched his manifesto last week.

One of the key points was the return of the sport's Olympic dividends to the National Federations via the Continental Confederations.

Other proposals include greater financial transparency, more representation for women at the highest-level and a bigger role for former boxers in technical matters.

Konakbayev is also promising that he will rebuild trust in AIBA, although he admits the organisation may need a rebrand and has proposed changing the name of the governing body to "World Boxing" so "that our image is changed".

Boxing is a sport fighting for its Olympic future ©Getty Images
Boxing is a sport fighting for its Olympic future ©Getty Images

AIBA said today that they "welcomed" the decision by CAS to allow the Kazakh to stand.

"Given the cooperation and goodwill shown by AIBA in this case as well as the further considerations by CAS, AIBA is pleased to welcome an additional candidate to participate in the election for the role of AIBA President," a statement said.

Rakhimov thanked CAS for their "hard work".

"As I have always said, the rules that our Election Committee had to abide by in this process were very complicated and rigid, and now CAS has confirmed that. 

"I am pleased to welcome another candidate and, as I have said before on numerous occasions, for AIBA it is good when we have competition especially at the highest levels, and now we can let the AIBA membership decide who they believe is the best leader to guide our sport out of financial difficulty and towards a sustainable future."