This has not been a good Olympics for AIBA, international boxing’s governing body. Multiple fights have been judged suspiciously, and there is a prevailing sentiment that not everything is on the up and up. Now, AIBA is sending home a number of Olympic judges and referees, apparently hoping to quell some of the discontent.
Here’s AIBA’s statement regarding the dismissal of the judges and referees, via Sky Sports:
“The concerned referees and judges will no longer officiate at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” the body said, adding that the results of all the bouts would stand.
“AIBA will not shy away from its responsibilities and is fully committed… [to] always acting in the boxers’ utmost interest,” the statement continued.
Today’s action will do little to appease the boxers who feel they have already been robbed of a fair competition. On Monday night, Russian heavyweight Evgeny Tishchenko won a gold medal after defeating Kazakh fighter Vassiliy Levit. Tishchenko won via a unanimous decision, despite the fact that Levit seemed to have dominated the fight; Tishchenko’s victory was met with gasps and boos from the fans in the arena.
There was more uproar yesterday, when Irish boxer Michael Conlan was apoplectic after another fishy decision by the judges cost him a preliminary bout against Russian boxer Vladimir Nikitin. Conlan remains understandably peeved today:
There are still a number of bouts, in which medals will be on the line, to be fought this week, and each one will likely be under intense scrutiny. But even if the rest of the fights are totally on the level, it will do little to remove the stink that has already fallen over these games. Dismissing judges in the middle of an international competition is about as close as AIBA can get to admitting that shenanigans were afoot, and it’s certainly not the best way to follow up the 2012 games, where this went down.