Japan Amateur Boxing Federation (JABF) President Akira Yamane announced his resignation on Wednesday (8 August) after weeks of media frenzy over an array of misconduct allegations, including match-fixing, ties to a mobster and misuse of grant money.
Bowing at a news conference carried live on national TV, the 78-year-old denied several claims against him, including swaying decisions towards fighters from his native Nara prefecture.
"I resign today," said Yamane. "To athletes, I apologise as the president of this body for this problem. Please, if in the future, you become unable to participate in the Tokyo Olympics, there will be the next Olympics. Please work toward that."
In his statement, Yamane did not address his relationship with the organized crime, as well as he didn’t mention the alleged misuse of grant money.
He is a gangster... No, he is "Akira Yamane" who is a chairman of the Japan Amateur Boxing Federation.— Shigeo | しげお (@sg_oxxt) 3 August 2018
Right now, his behavior has become a serious problem in Japan.https://t.co/b9i1xUi8Xr
Favour to Nara boxers
Yamane’s alleged misconduct came to light after an amateur boxing support group, led by former JABF board member Yahio Tsuruki, filed a complaint calling for the JABF to be investigated over 12 specific issues.
The complaint alleges that some judgements in official matches were unfair.
Over the previous weeks, several boxing officials reproached Yamane of pressuring judges to support fighters from his native prefecture.
Regarding this, new evidence was introduced early on Wednesday, a recording of someone saying: "If it’s a close fight, it should go to Nara." JABF managing director Teruo Yoshimori confirmed the voice was Yamane’s.
Wide range of misconduct
Yamane is also accused of holding a monopoly on the sale of boxing gloves used in JABF competitions.
Reportedly, JABF-approved gloves were supplied by a front company controlled by the former amateur boxing chief.
He has also acknowledged pressuring a boxer into sharing a public grant with two others who did not win it.
Previously, Yamane had admitted his former relationship with a person involved in a boryokudan gangster organization, saying: ‘I hung around with that person due to certain circumstances.’
This comment was highly criticized by Japan Sports Agency Commissioner Daichi Suzuki, who said: "It’s questionable for a sports organization to be chaired by a person who has shadowy relationships."
Back in 1975, Yamane got involved in the managing of the amateur boxing federation of the Nara prefecture. He became a director of the JABF in 1991, and has been its chairman since 2011.