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Adams, Shields and Fontijn progress as Rio judging causes uproar
by Michael O'Neill
August 18, 2016

(AUG 18)  Rarely has an Olympic boxing tournament been so controversial as this year’s event in Rio de Janeiro. Hardly a day goes by without some major complaint whether by boxers or coaches usually regarding alleged poor quality judging. Boxers have been sent home or withdrawn by their Federations – that said boxing is not the only sport facing problems as numerous athletes have been withdrawn or banished due to doping allegations.

Team USA Head Coach Billy Walsh said :

"The judging has been atrocious," he told reporters. "The last time I saw it as bad was in Seoul in 1988 when Roy Jones got robbed in the final”

Walsh had earlier been very unhappy that Mikaela Mayer had been ‘defeated’ in her 60kg bout by another Russian- Beliakova. He told Reuters News Agency:

"To be honest, I've just had a look at the judging. It was crazy," Walsh told reporters. "Are they looking at the same bloody fight or what?

"Her performance was excellent, she gave everything she had ... I thought she did enough to win it."

Ireland’s Assistant Coach Eddie Bolger was furious at Katie Taylor’s ‘defeat’ by Mira Potkonen commenting : “This happens a lot but it happens more often. That fight wasn't even close.

“You can add it up and it wasn't close. It was a shocking decision. That's all I'm going to say about it.” Head Coach Zuar Antia was even more annoyed at what he described as a ‘complete travesty of justice’.

Taylor herself was gracious in defeat albeit she felt sure she had done more than enough to win and took time to say:

“In the midst of a disappointing year, I just want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the amazing support. I love you all.”

Canada’s coach was another to voice his opinion after Ariane Fortin surprisingly lost to Shakimova in the Middleweights:

"I thought (Fortin) had the match. She was more precise, a little bit more active," Daniel Trepanier said. "But when we saw the decision was taking a long time and we saw them playing with their pencils in the corner, we started to get nervous.

"In the last round, she showed her superiority. But well, the judges decided otherwise . . . It was a judgment, they see the fights differently from us. In any case, they don't share the same opinion”.

Let us start off with our update of the latest news from the AIBA’s team in Rio and we also include the latest results from our friends at Strefa Poland Boxing.

“It was a star-studded first session of Rio 2016 Olympic Boxing on Tuesday, with reigning Champion Nicola Adams in the first of two Women’s Flyweight (51kg) Quarter-Finals, current World Champions in the last-sixteen of the Men’s Bantamweights (56kg), Light Welterweights (64kg) and Super Heavyweights (+91kg), and in-between, a crucial Light Heavyweight (81kg) Semi-Final bout between Cuba’s Julio Cesar La Cruz and French revelation Mathieu Bauderlique.

Ukrainian Tetyana Kob delivered a superb first-round win over Stanmira Petrova on Day Seven, but Nicola Adams looked every bit the Olympic champion as she got her title defence up and running with a unanimous win in the day’s first bout. China’s Ren Cancan then overcame Canada’s Mandy Bujold with an equally stylish win to set up a hotly anticipated Semi-Final with Adams on Thursday.”

On Wednesday in the Middleweights a split decision (2:1) win for Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands over Team GB boxer and former World champion Savannah Marshall from Hartlepool.

A disappointed Marshall told UK broadcaster BT Sport : ““I thought the fight was really close but when I looked at the scores at the end, it wasn’t close.

“I thought I won the second round and I thought I won the last one too. But she’s a brilliant fighter so I don’t know (about the judging).”

GB Boxing had this to say :” Marshall was up against the number two seed of the tournament and the world silver medallist. Both boxers have a history of rivalry together as they have met on numerous occasions within their boxing careers. The opening round saw Marshall out on the front foot, in pursuit of her opponent. The second round saw a much better start from Marshall, setting her shots up well as her accuracy improved.

Into the second half of the contest and Marshall finds herself trailing on the judges’ score cards. She senses that Fontijn is feeling the pace of the contest and forces a strong attack with more accurate shots. Into the fourth round and Marshall needs a stoppage to win the bout. Knowing time isn’t on her side she doesn’t give up, acquitting herself well and firing more great shots in pursuit of her opponent.”

Claressa Shields meantime had a unanimous 3:0 decision over Russia’s Iaroslava Iaukushina . The London 2012 champion has always been a strong favourite to retain her crown here. Team USA Boxing quotes her thus:

“I wanted to go out there and outbox her from the outside, use my jab and use my right hand but I just couldn’t get her timing. She didn’t want to get close enough. After she hit me a couple times, I was like I’m going to have to take it to the inside with her because it was hard for me to get her timing. I hit her with a lot of good jabs though, a lot of good right hands. It wasn’t as sharp as I wanted it to be. I just did a good job transitioning. As far as overall performance, about a C,” Shields said. “I definitely got the rust off. The game plan was to go out there and fight her like I did when I fought her in 2014 but this time my body just wouldn’t do it. She just kept swinging all wild. Whenever I got close to her, I couldn’t get her timing so I just fought her on the inside and I did a great job at that. I beat her with every combination on the inside.”

The Flint woman now meets Kazakhstan’s Dariga Shakimova in Friday’s semi-final and it will be a massive shock should she fail to progress to the final. Friday’s bout scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Brazil time (2:30 p.m. ET).

The 60kg final will be between Estelle Mossely of France and China’s Yin Junhua. The former won a TKO1 decision over Russia’s Anastasia Beliakova who had to retire with a broken arm whilst China’s Yin Junhua overcame Mira Potkonen of Finland.

Finally let us turn to the issue of judges. So many complaints were received against allegedly pro-Russian bias and alleged corruption that the International Boxing Association (AIBA) issued this statement having been inundated with complaints and media contacts:


Following recent judging decisions and after carrying out a thorough examination by the relevant Commission, AIBA has decided to take immediate and appropriate actions.

Since the beginning of the Olympic Games, AIBA has conducted 239 bouts. The AIBA R&J Commission has reviewed all decisions and determined that ‘less than a handful’ of the decisions were not at the level expected and consequently it has been decided in accordance with the AIBA R&J evaluation committee that the concerned referees and judges will no longer officiate at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In accordance with AIBA Rules the result of all the bouts will stand.

AIBA represents 200 National Federations and has continuously sought to evolve the sport of boxing and continuously strive to ensure a level playing field. AIBA will not shy away from its responsibilities and is fully committed to a zero tolerance policy towards fair play in boxing, always acting in the boxers’ utmost interest. The Olympic Games represent the pinnacle of all sports and Boxing has been part of this since 1904. It is essential AIBA stands to the values of respect, sportsmanship, excellence and remains committed to a fair and transparent sport.

With regard to corruption, we would like to strongly restate that unless tangible proof is put forward, not rumours, we will continue to use any means, including legal or disciplinary actions to protect our sport and its R&J community whose integrity is constantly put into question. The organization will not be deterred by subjective judgements made by discontented parties. We welcome all parties to come forward and provide evidence in order to take appropriate and immediate action “.

So that’s it after an eventful 48 hours in Rio – some judges banished, no judges ‘named or shamed’ and Olympic dreams of several boxers left in tatters. Some will never have another chance of striking Gold at the Olympics.

All the scores here from both Male and Female bouts so far: http://amateur-boxing.strefa.pl/Championships/OlympicGames2016.html

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