Boxing at London 2012 has been blighted by feeble refereeing and judging, says Wayne McCullough.
Last Updated: 06/08/12 10:02am
The boxing events at the 2012 London Olympic Games got off to a pretty good start last week with fair judging and refereeing, but when the elimination began on Wednesday for the final 16 in each weight class, things changed.
The significance of a win at this stage of the competition means the boxers move on the quarter-finals and keep their medal hopes alive.
The home nation had done well up to that point will all their boxers getting through, while all of Ireland's boxers had also won.
In my opinion, the worst decision was when the American bantamweight, Joseph Diaz Jr, fought Cuban, Lazaro Alvarez Estrada in arguably the best fight of the Games to that point.
Estrada is a slick, tall southpaw and used his reach and kept his distance; this worked well for him and he took the first round of the fight.
Diaz then forced the fight in the next two rounds, landing hard body shots and clean uppercuts but they were not being scored. Diaz lost 21-15.
Britain's super-heavyweight, Anthony Joshua, beat Cuban Erislandy Savon 17-16. The fight was close with Joshua up by two going into the final three minutes.
Savon took his time but neither landed anything until the final minute when Savon picked his punches well, knocking Joshua's head back on at least five occasions.
Joshua landed some shots as well but it looked like the Cuban had pulled out the win. However, the hometown lad got the decision.
The worst refereeing I have seen in a long time came in the bantamweight division when Japan's Satoshi Shimizu took on Azerbaijan's Magomed Abdulhamidov.
Shimizu was behind going into the last round but put Abdulhamidov down six times which should have resulted in three standing counts therefore ending the fight.
But the referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazou of Turkmenistan didn't even give Abdulhamidov a warning. He continued fighting and ridiculously won.
An appeal was put forward and thankfully the decision was turned around and Shimizu was awarded the victory. The referee was sent home, a good decision on the AIBA's behalf.
On Thursday, there was some controversy over the computer scoring when Britain's middleweight Anthony Ogogo fought Ukranian Evhen Khytrov; the fight ended 18-18.
It went to a countback which also ended in a draw 52-52. Each of the five judges was then asked to push the red or the blue button to vote on who they thought was the winner of the fight. Three judges scored it for Ogogo putting him into the final eight.
However, if the judges were asked to decide who won the fight why can't they judge the fight that way instead of using the controversial computer? What did Ogogo do to catch the judges' eyes? Whatever it was, the computer couldn't have seen it.
Another great fight was between USA's Terell Gausha and India's Vijender Singh. Gausha was robbed in his middleweight bout. He clearly won rounds two and three but lost 16-15.
After day six, seven Americans were out of the competition with only two left in the final 16. But then flyweight Rau'shee Warren lost to Nordine Oubaali of France by one point 19-18.
This was Warren's third Olympics and he has not won a fight in any of them, being eliminated in the opening round of each games.
USA's welterweight Errol Spence lost 13-11 to Krishan Vikas of India. Spence clearly won the fight but the decision went against him leaving all the American fighters out in what would have been their worst Olympics ever.
However, about five hours after the Spence fight a protest was filed by Team USA. AIBA overturned the decision and awarded the American the win saying the Indian boxer was not punished for his misdeeds during the bout. It was great news for Team USA, who now have one guy left to fight for a medal.
Another bad decision occurred when Birzahan Zhakypov fought Filipino Mark Barriga. Barriga was up going into the final round but the ref gave him two warnings which caused him to lose four points.
Zhakypov was being dirty but wasn't warned. Finally he did get a warning and he then lost two points. But when the scores were read Zhakypov was awarded the fight 17-16. So the points that Barriga lost cost him the fight. The ref was the one to blame in another display of bad officiating.
After the last day of the final 16 elimination, Ireland have three male fighters fighting for medals out of five, Britain have six out of seven and the USA only has one out of nine left. AIBA, for once, took a stand on a few occasions and it was good to see.
The first week of the Olympic boxing is over. Hopefully we won't see too many more bad decisions as the competition progresses.