BOXING: IBF to be shackled by court monitor

FEDERAL PROSECUTORS filed charges against the International Boxing Federation yesterday and requested a court-appointed monitor for what they contend is a corrupt organisation.

The civil racketeering lawsuit against one of the sport's governing bodies came nearly three weeks after prosecutors indicted the IBF president, Robert Lee Snr, on criminal bribery charges.

If approved by a federal judge, the monitorship appears to be the first imposed on a sporting organisation, said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the US attorney's office in Newark, which is prosecuting the IBF and Lee cases.

Lee and others in the IBF were indicted on charges that they solicited $338,000 (pounds 220,000) in bribes over the past 13 years to fix IBF rankings. They have pleaded innocent, and their trial could start as early as 11 January.

Prosecutors last week asked Judge John Bissell of the US District Court to freeze IBF bank accounts, a motion the judge said he would consider next week.

The IBF has been under a cloud for much of the year since word leaked out of the federal grand jury investigation that led to the 32-count indictment against Lee.

n Stephan Johnson remains in a critical condition following the brain injury he received in a junior middleweight bout against Paul Vaden in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Saturday. The 31-year-old New Yorker was ahead on two of the three judges' cards before he was knocked out in the 10th round.

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