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Boxing: JABF announces independent body to investigate chief Yamane

Akira Yamane (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese Amateur Boxing Federation announced Monday it will set up an independent committee to investigate allegations of improper conduct by its president Akira Yamane.

The announcement on the federation's website follows requests by the Japan Olympic Committee and the Japan Sports Association for an investigation into the allegations against the 78-year-old president.

In a letter sent to the JOC last month by a privately formed amateur boxing group, Yamane was accused of a long list of improprieties including pressuring referees to fix the outcome of matches.

In the latest allegation to emerge, Yamane is said to have held a monopoly on the sale of boxing gloves used in official JABF competitions.

The JABF-approved gloves were supplied by a front company controlled by Yamane, according to the complaint.

The listed address of the supplier of the gloves was reportedly a coffee shop in Hyogo Prefecture, while payments for the gloves were transferred to a bank account in the name of Yamane's granddaughter.

Asked about the arrangement, Yamane said the supplier was an acquaintance and there had been no intent to monopolize sales. He also said he had not profited from the sale of gloves.

"It's just that we haven't had applications from other glove suppliers. We'll look at any we receive," he said. "I borrowed my granddaughter's bank account for a few months, because I don't have an account I could use. None of the money came to me."

London Olympic middleweight gold medalist Ryota Murata voiced his frustration over the controversy on Monday, saying the JABF must be totally reformed to put athletes first.

"I want these problems to be fixed right away. It's not about who wins or loses. I want to feel as though improvements are being made to enable athletes to reach the Olympics," the reigning World Boxing Association middleweight champion said following a training session in Tokyo.

"Japan needs to show that boxing is in a healthy state (ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games). Right now it feels as though the sport has been devalued."

Yamane said Friday he is not considering stepping down over the allegations.

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