Boxing on brink after Rio judging controversies

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Rio De Janeiro | Published: August 22, 2016 1:40:56 PM

Bloody and bruised, Olympic boxing was left teetering on the brink of crisis at the Olympics with several fighters complaining they were the victims of bad judging decisions and a few alleging more sinister wrongdoing.

The Games would not be complete without boxing controversy of one kind or another and governing body the AIBA was soon on the defensive in Rio after at least two highly debatable judging decisions, the most contentious being in the heavyweight final. (Source: Reuters)The Games would not be complete without boxing controversy of one kind or another and governing body the AIBA was soon on the defensive in Rio after at least two highly debatable judging decisions, the most contentious being in the heavyweight final. (Source: Reuters)

Bloody and bruised, Olympic boxing was left teetering on the brink of crisis at the Olympics with several fighters complaining they were the victims of bad judging decisions and a few alleging more sinister wrongdoing.

The Games would not be complete without boxing controversy of one kind or another and governing body the AIBA was soon on the defensive in Rio after at least two highly debatable judging decisions, the most contentious being in the heavyweight final.

Kazakh Vassiliy Levit appeared to have given Evgeny Tishchenko a thorough hiding, but the judges inexplicably made the Russian a unanimous points winner — he was consequently booed up to the podium.

The next day Irish bantamweight world champion Michael Conlan launched a foul-mouthed tirade at the International Boxing Association (AIBA) saying he had been “robbed” of his Olympic dream, again at the hands of a Russian.

Conlan was enraged and accused the AIBA and judges of corruption — an allegation immediately rejected by the AIBA, which threatened legal action to protect its integrity and that of Olympic boxing.

But the boxing body then acknowledged that “less than a handful of decisions (were) not at the level expected” and sent home an undisclosed number of judges and referees.

And a day later it “reassigned” one of its top executives who was in charge of helping run the Rio Olympic boxing.

National boxing federations have so far been reluctant to criticise the AIBA, but Boxing Canada broke ranks with a strongly worded statement, warning that the sport’s integrity was in serious jeopardy and hinted plans were afoot to force AIBA’s arm.

“Following questionable decisions and alleged corruption claims occurring at the Rio 2016 boxing competition, a global strategy is being put in place to ensure AIBA will address and correct the situation,” Boxing Canada said.

It told AFP that it wants a “complete review” of what unfolded in Rio.

AIBA did not respond to a request for comment.

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