International Boxing Association (AIBA) honorary vice-president Domingo Solano has emerged as the second candidate for the top job at the embattled organisation after he revealed plans to stand for President during elections scheduled for later this year.
The veteran Dominican Republic official declared his intention to run for President in a letter to AIBA’s National Federations, a copy of which has been seen by insidethegames.
Solano, a vice-president of AIBA for 15 years and who led the Americas Boxing Confederation between 2009 and 2014, joins Azerbaijan’s Suleyman Mikayilov on the ballot paper in a Presidential election considered vital if the organisation is to regain its status as the Olympic governing body for the sport.
The candidacy from the Dominican, who served as the head of his country’s Federation for 38 years and twice sat on AIBA’s ruling Executive Committee, has been met with surprise from some officials within the organisation.
Solano claims he can be the right man “to take on the challenge of changing course to rescue AIBA from what appears to be its inevitable shipwreck” and called on AIBA’s membership to support him in the vote.
He said he has not proposed “to offer money, because I do not have any nor am I driven by financial interests” in what appears to be an implied criticism of Mikayilov.
Mikayilov has promised to inject funds into the organisation from a separate body he has established with private investors to help clear AIBA’s $16 million (£12.5 million/€13.5 million) debt within three months of the election.
The election is due to take place during AIBA’s Extraordinary Congress, scheduled to be held in Budapest from December 12 to 13 but which is set to be staged virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is time to break with that shameful past and for us to expel from the organisation all those who, through their actions or omissions, have been responsible for plunging our beloved institution into disorder and lack of transparency,” Solano wrote in his letter launching his candidature.
“The time has come to pitch in and to work for the wellbeing of the athletes and the other boxing actors, to fight for AIBA to once again become a respectable institution and for boxing to become one of the main sports of the Olympic Movement, just as it was before the AIBA fiasco.”
Solano also insisted his withdrawal from the running for vice-president in 2014 after “realising that the organization’s near future was not at all flattering and also because I did not want to be identified later as one of those responsible for leading AIBA to the darkest level of its existence” had not prevented him from being closely involved in the sport.
He cited his 32 years of experience in AIBA among the reasons why he believes he is a suitable candidate for President.
Solano was President of the Dominican Amateur Boxing Federation when the country hosted the AIBA Congress in 2006, where Malian delegate Pierre Diakite was found dead in a hotel lift shaft.
AIBA, suspended by the IOC last June over issues with its concerns over governance, financial management and the integrity of its competitions, has been without a permanent President for 18 months after Gafur Rakhimov stood down in March 2019.
The troubled Federation has since been led by Morocco’s Mohamed Moustahsane.
The Moroccan’s tenure was further extended after the AIBA Executive Committee allowed him to continue until the postponed Congress.
It effectively meant AIBA had breached its own constitution by not having an election for a permanent President within the time-frame outlined in the document.
Candidates wishing to stand for AIBA President must be nominated by their National Federation.
Applications for President and other positions have to be sent to AIBA no later than 40 days before the Congress.
The deadline would fall on November 2 if AIBA decides to stick to its current timeline for the Congress.
Under its statutes, AIBA has to inform National Federations of the positions available at the Congress by October 2.