Sore Loser Highlights a Bigger Issue

October 3, 2014 at 9:58 am Leave a comment

The judging of boxing contests has always been clouded in controversy, and over the years there have been many bouts at the Olympics that have defied belief.

One that stands out is from the 1984 Los Angeles Games where an almost unknown Jeff Fenech was robbed. Fenech lost a controversial Quarter-final bout to Yugoslavian Redzep Redzepovski. Fenech had initially been given the decision, but after intervention by the Olympic Boxing Committee and a total recount, the decision was reversed.

Four years later it was the turn of Roy Jones junior to be robbed in his Gold medal bout against South Korea’s Park Si-hun in the light middleweight division.

The was held on the last day of boxing at the Seoul Olympic Games, and it was one way traffic. Jones, really did not need to raise his guard. He landed 86 punches to Park’s 32. The Korean took two standing eight counts and was twice warned by the referee. American television network NBC’s Count-A-Punch recorder scored the rounds 20-3, 30-15 and 36-14 in Jones’s favour.

Unfortunately for Jones the three judges didn’t think so. As the referee, raised Park’s hand, the Korean fighter looked embarrassed. The referee himself you can see on footage that survives looks disgusted and was heard to whisper “I can’t believe they’re doing this to you,” to the distraught Jones.

However nothing has matched the reaction of Indian female boxer Sarita Devi at the Asian Games this week.

On Wednesday, Devi cried as she walked to the podium with her arms folded and her head down. As the officials attempted to present her with the bronze medal she held up her hands and said she would not accept it. Twice officials tried to put it round her neck but she would not allow them to do so.

After all the other medals had been awarded, Devi stepped off the podium, took the bronze from the official and went to shake silver medallist Park Ji-Na’s hand. The woman who had beaten her in the semi final. As Park gave a traditional Korean bow, Devi placed the bronze around the bemused fighter’s neck. “I said, ‘This is for you and all Korea, because you only deserve a bronze,'” Devi is quoted as saying afterwards.”It was a protest for all the sportsmen and women of the world against injustice in sport.”

It is worth noting that the Asian Games are currently being held in Incheon  South Korea and many believe that this was a “home” decision on par with the one that defeated Roy Jones junior.

A spokesman stated that not surprisingly the Incheon Asian Games Organising Committee members present at the medal ceremony had been “offended” by Devi’s gesture.”If she wanted to refuse the medal she should have not come to the ceremony,” he said.

One cannot condone Devi’s behaviour, however it does highlight that AIBA, and indeed boxing in general, needs to address the way bouts are scored. It is 30 years since the decision went against Fenech, 26 years since Roy Jones junior suffered the same fate. This should not still be happening.

The watch the Controversial medal ceremony click here





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