István Kovács, the former world champion boxer, and two-time Olympics medal winner, has been appointed as the Secretary-General of International Boxing Association (AIBA), the global governing body of amateur boxing.
The AIBA Board of Directors had a virtual meeting on Monday via video conference and it was determined that Kovács was the right person to lead the organization.
“I am pleased to announce that the Board of Directors members have approved Istvan Kovacs as AIBA secretary general. I am positive that as secretary general he will be able to bring AIBA to a fundamentally new efficiency level and transparency of management,” AIBA President Umar Kremlev said in an official statement.
Kremlev wanted to push the idea of appointing a former boxer for the secretary-general post rather than any manager or other official as the president holds the idea the sportspersons are knowledgeable about the sport inside and out, more than anyone else.
An amateur and professional boxing icon, István Kovács ticks all the right boxes to lead AIBA
Known as “Ko-Ko” and “The Cobra” during his prime, Kovács is a two-time amateur world champion, having clinched gold medals first at the 1991 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Sydney in the flyweight category, and then again at the 1997 edition in Budapest, this time at the Featherweight category.
After a bronze medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona in flyweight, Kovács tasted the ultimate success in his amateur career at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, clinching a gold in the bantamweight category after defeating his Cuban opponent Arnaldo Mesa in the final.
“I am very grateful for the confidence placed in me by the AIBA Board of Directors,” Kovács was quoted on a statement from AIBA, “it is a great honour and at the same time a great responsibility to become the secretary-general of the International Boxing Association.”
After a remarkable amateur career, the Hungarian switched to professional boxing in 1997, being coached under world-famous amateur trainer Fritz Sdunek. In 1999, Kovács clinched the WBC intercontinental featherweight belt after defeating Nabaloum Dramane.
In January 2001 in Munich, Kovács became the first Hungarian to become a world champion in professional boxing after he won the WBO featherweight title after defeating Antonio “Chelo” Diaz from the Dominican Republic via a 12th round TKO.
“I see that the new AIBA leadership is heading in the right direction and is committed to working with full dedication to support and reinforce this course of positive change,” the 50-year-old further acknowledged, “I am sure that together we will be able to carry out all the necessary reforms and bring AIBA to a fundamentally new level.”
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