Monday, May 29, 2023  |


AIBA removes some judges and officials after questionable decisions

Fighters Network
Russia’s Evgeny Tishchenko lands on Kazakhstan’s Vassily Levit. Photo courtesy of AIBA.

Russia’s Evgeny Tishchenko lands on Kazakhstan’s Vassily Levit. Photo courtesy of AIBA.

If AIBA was trying to resemble the pros with its removal of head gear, it also succeeded with erratic judging and officiating for these Olympic Games.

On Wednesday, AIBA, the governing body for Olympic boxing, acknowledging the firestorm that’s been whipped up by a number of bizarre decisions in Rio by removing an undisclosed number of judges and referees after determining that a “handful of decisions were not at the level expected,” though it stopped short of saying the decisions would be reversed.

“The AIBA R&J [referees and judges] 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,” AIBA said in a statement. “In accordance with AIBA Rules, the result of all the bouts will stand.”

AIBA didn’t reveal the names of the officials and fights in question but a number of recent bouts have raised red flags. The biggest culprit may have been the decision in the gold medal heavyweight fight between Russia’s Evgeny Tishchenko and Kazakhstan’s Vassily Levit. The Russian was awarded a gold medal in a very unpopular verdict when it was clear that Levit had done enough to win. Michael Gallagher, Armando Carbonell Alvarado and Kheira Sidi Yakoub were the judges.

Another bout that has prompted scrutiny was Ireland Michael Conlan’s loss to Russian Vladimir Nikitin on Tuesday. Conlan blasted AIBA afterward, giving the judges the finger in the ring and later alleging corruption. He also suggested on Twitter that Russian president Vladimir Putin had bribed AIBA. Judges for that exercise were Jones Kennedy Silva do Rosario, Udeni Talik Bandara Kiridena and Mariusz Gorny.

Suffice to say, Conlan’s angry tirade is not the way AIBA hoped to be portrayed at these Games. At the same time, AIBA rejected that it’s officials have acted unethically and asked for tangible proof of wrongdoing.

“With regard to corruption, we would like to strongly restate that unless tangible proof is put forward, not rumors, 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 statement read. “The organization will not be deterred by subjective judgments made by discontented parties. We welcome all parties to come forward and provide evidence in order to take appropriate and immediate action.”