Boxing: How Anthony Joshua angered Dr Wu, the man who wants to rule the rings

Boxing chief has banned the word 'amateur' and wants professionals to take part in the Olympics. Now he aims to run the IOC

The defection of Anthony Joshua, British boxing's biggest asset, to the professionals will be a body blow not just to Team GB but also to a certain Dr Wu.

Dr Who? One Dr C K Wu, the ruthlessly ambitious billionaire born in China who wants to rule not only world boxing, but world sport.

In Buenos Aires on 10 September he will attempt to become president of the International Olympic Association, replacing Jacques Rogge, who steps down after 12 years. It would make him sport's most powerful figure. And power is what the tycoon from Taiwan, educated in England, craves more than anything.

He hates losing. Which is why he will feel affronted that the Olympic super-heavyweight champion is taking the orthodox route into the professional game, rejecting an offer to join Wu's own brainchild, the fledgling APB (AIBA Pro Boxing), which launches next month. AIBA is the International Boxing Association, the body controlling what used to be amateur boxing.

Wu had ardently wooed Joshua, hoping he would become his flagship fighter in a revolutionary tournament which offers substantial prize money and is part of his grand design as president of AIBA to open up the Olympic Games to professionals as long as they compete under AIBA jurisdiction.

Former Team GB members, the Welshmen Andrew Selby, the European flyweight champion, and Fred Evans, the 2012 welterweight silver medallist, have joined APB, which has disaffected some IOC members by offering a fast track to the Olympics.

But Joshua, echoing Luke Campbell, bantamweight gold medallist and now his Matchroom stable-mate, says: "It's new. It's not solid yet. There's no TV exposure, and if I'm going to fight as a professional I might as well do the real thing."

Such sentiments will not please the autocratic Wu, who earlier this year arbitrarily removed the word "amateur" from boxing's lexicon, beginning with his own Lausanne-based body, once the International Association de Boxe Amateur, now the International Boxing Association. There will no longer be "amateur" boxing in the Games – simply "Olympic boxing".

All national associations have been requested to remove the A–w ord, including the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE), who so far have not done so. Last week they felt the wrath of Wu, who suspended the organisation for "a serious breach" of AIBA rules as a result of Sport England's input in the development of ABAE's new constitution. Effectively, English boxers are now banned from international events, including the World Championships and Commonwealth Games.

Three years ago AIBA took similar punitive action when Paul King, then ABAE's chief executive, unsuccessfully challenged Wu for the AIBA presidency. Yet the 66-year-old Wu claims to be an Anglophile. An architectural graduate of Liverpool University, he has a British passport, his two daughters were born here, and he built an international construction empire in the UK that has bequeathed us Milton Keynes.

Now he seems driven by the desire to control world boxing, bringing professionals such as the Klitschko brothers and British world champions Carl Froch and Nathan Cleverly under his aegis. There is even talk of the world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko who won Olympic gold in 1996, going for a second in Rio in 2016, at the age of 39.

Wu's plans are ridiculed by the professional game. Eddie Hearn, who has signed Joshua on a three-year deal, is dismissive, describing APB as "an accident waiting to happen".

He adds: "These people do not have the knowledge or the wherewithal to organise professional boxing as the world understands it. Basically they are still amateurs."

Frank Warren concurs. "The whole concept is ridiculous. Crazy. It is neither practical nor feasible. What we will end up with is just another label in an overcrowded alphabet soup. He should concentrate on running his own show and leave the real professionals to their business."

Wu also finds himself squaring up to boxing's other King. "I am shocked and appalled," roars the 82-year-old Don from his Florida eyrie. "This proposal is not only implausible but harmful, immoral and highly dangerous. While in team sports such as basketball professionals and amateurs competing against each other at worst can result in an embarrassment, in boxing a professional fighting an amateur in the Olympics could result in injury, even death."

But Wu is unfazed, declaring: "It has always been AIBA's mission to govern the sport of boxing worldwide in all its forms."

In many ways he has been a power for good, ending much corruption since he took charge in 2006, notably in the judging system, and getting women's boxing Olympic status.

A member of the IOC executive board, he wants to "positively impact society" by seeking sport's top job. "I am ready to step up. The thought and concept to develop the IOC and Olympic movement is the core principle of my candidature."

He joins five other candidates: Thomas Bach of Germany, Ng Ser Miang of Singapore, Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico, Switzerland's Denis Oswald and Ukraine's former pole- vault icon Sergei Bubka, in the election to succeed the Belgian Rogge. Wu says that if successful, he will promote education to combat doping, gambling, match-fixing and violence in sports. But he has a big fight on his hands if he is to be king of the rings, as well as the ring.

Who's Wu?

Born in Nanking, China, in 1946, Dr Ching-kuo Wu is a wealthy architect and construction engineer, as well as a former Taiwanese basketball player. He heads AIBA, the International Boxing Association, who govern amateur and Olympic boxing. He spent much of his early life in the UK, attending Oxford College of Technology and Liverpool University. He later became chief architect for the Milton Keynes Development Corporation.

As AIBA president since 2006 he has cleaned up an organisation once seen as a corrupt. He has also professionalised the sport, forming the inter-nation World Boxing series (from which the £1.8 million AIBA-subsidised British Lionhearts have withdrawn after one year), and AIBA Professional Boxing. Both tournaments allow boxers to be paid five-figure purses, boxing under pro rules and scoring over five rounds without headguards or vests. His avowed intention is for AIBA to take over all boxing and allow professionals to participate in the Olympics.

An avid collector of Olympic memorabilia, he has founded the new Juan Antonio Samaranch Olympic Museum in Tianjin, China.

Video: Manny Pacquiao visits China

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there