Boxing-Britain's Joyce wants 2016 Olympic gold if fight manipulation is proven

FILE PHOTO: Boxing - WBC Silver and WBO International Heavyweight title fight - Joe Joyce v Carlos Takam - The SSE Arena, London, Britain - July 24, 2021 Joe Joyce celebrates winning the fight against Carlos Takam Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

LONDON (Reuters) - British heavyweight Joe Joyce said on Friday that he should be handed the 2016 Olympic gold medal if his Rio de Janeiro final with Frenchman Tony Yoka was found to have been manipulated by corrupt boxing officials.

The fight was one of 11 called into question by an independent report, commissioned by the sport's governing body, the AIBA, and published on Thursday, that found evidence of corruption and manipulation.

"It's sad to see corruption in any sport but particularly in boxing," said Joyce, the silver medallist who lost the Olympic super-heavyweight final on a 2-1 split decision, in a statement on Instagram.

"I firmly believe that I was the winner of the match with Tony Yoka and deserved the gold medal. But on the day I did not get that decision and at the time I accepted that."

Joyce, who has since turned professional and remains unbeaten, said he had scanned the results of the investigation led by Richard McLaren and had read that corruption in the AIBA had affected the result of his fight.

"If corruption has taken place, and it appears that it has, I trust AIBA and the IOC (International Olympic Committee) will ensure the integrity of the sport is upheld and award me the gold medal," he added.

"I will be considering the report in detail with my legal team and await the decision of AIBA and the IOC. Corruption should never be allowed to succeed."

Yoka's lawyer told Europe 1 radio that the boxer, the reigning European champion, was focused solely on becoming the first French professional heavyweight world champion.

McLaren said on Thursday he could not comment on whether the results of manipulated bouts would be overturned, saying that was not up to him to decide as the lead investigator.

The IOC has said it would "carefully study" McLaren's findings before deciding on the consequences.

Irish fighter Michael Conlan, whose quarter-final defeat in Rio triggered an outcry at the time, said on Thursday he wanted to be awarded the medal he was denied.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)

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