Stung by the criticism it drew in the Olympics, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has decided to bar all 36 officials, who conducted the Rio Games, from its upcoming events pending an enquiry besides agreeing to modification in the controversial 10-point scoring system.
In a meeting of its Referees and Judges (R&Js) and Technical and Rules Commissions here, the AIBA planned “affirmative actions to build on during the new Olympic cycle”.
“Rio 2016 was a watershed moment for AIBA. Boxing was in the spotlight for positive reasons, but occasionally also for the wrong ones,” said AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu at the end of the deliberations.
“As an organisation, we have pulled together and I am extremely happy with the work that has been done this week by highly experienced members of our commissions, whose expertise and council will allow AIBA and its community to develop further throughout this next Olympic cycle,” he added.
The AIBA insisted that the majority of the boxing competition in Rio 2016 was received “very positively” but admitted that “a small number of decisions under debate indicated that further reforms in the AIBA R&J procedures were necessary”.
The judging in Rio had drawn strong criticism from boxers with several claiming to be victims of poor officiating. The most prominent case was that of Irishman Michael Conlan, who let it rip on the ringside judges in an expletive-laden tirade after losing to Russian Vladimir Nikitin despite overwhelmingly dominating the bout.
In fact, Nikitin had to give a walkover in his next bout as he had been rendered medically unfit owing to the thrashing handed by Conlan. Conlan turned professional after the Games.
“…it has been decided that all 36 R&Js that were used at the Olympic Games will not officiate at any AIBA event until the investigation reaches its conclusion, along with further immediate measures adopted by the commissions,” the AIBA statement read.
The world body, however, decided to keep its faith in the pro-style 10-point system, which has also been criticised as “opaque” in some quarters, albeit with one change.
“AIBA believes that the current 10-point must system, even though it’s subjective criteria sometimes causes misunderstandings and public debates, is the best scoring method for the sport because it takes into account the four key criteria essential to maintaining high level and entertaining boxing,” the AIBA stated.
“What has been recommended by the Commission for future events is the opening up of all five of the judges scorecards to determine the winner of a bout,” it said.