Tuesday 7 August 2012

The Shame of Olympic Boxing 2012

I have been watching the excellent coverage of women’s volleyball. This is a fast, exciting sport and is being beautifully and clearly refereed. There are no arguments or appeals – it is entirely fair. What a contrast to boxing!

Barry comes from a boxing family - his father, grandfather and uncle were all good amateur boxers – and his father gave him a pair of boxing gloves when he was nine. His first ‘bout’ was in a ring he fashioned in his back garden. More serious fights followed when he became a full time amateur (shamateur) boxer in the Army and since he retired from the ring he has maintained a key interest in the sport. By default I have also developed an interest in boxing and am always keen to hear the commentary of ex-boxers and the analysis of boxing experts at the ring-side.

The London 2012 Boxing Olympics has gained Barry’s admiration for the high standard of boxers and his utter contempt for the officials (referees, judges, International Olympics Committee (IOC) and the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA).  The boxing press and boxing notables like Lennox Lewis are universally outraged at the ineptitude (or deliberate bias) of the officials.  There have been numerous instances of referees who are either not aware of the rules of the sport or are ignoring them. The links below provide examples from the large press cover on the issue.

Compared to many other disciplines boxing is not difficult to judge yet many of the fights have been blatantly misjudged. I’m no expert but even I can see when a fighter is holding or delivering an illegal punch. The IOC is meant to oversee the quality of judging and refereeing but is mysteriously silent following dreadful decisions. A number of these travesties have resulted in appeals leading to officials being expelled from the Games. Most worrying of all has been the failure of the IOC and the AIBA to respond to a BBC whistle blower’s broadcast last September about AIBA corruption concerning payments to favour certain boxers.

Boxing is a great sport that has done much, particularly for under-privileged youth. It focuses energy and demands self-discipline.  Boxing and boxers deserve much better than the treatment they have received in the London 2012 Olympics.  The IOC has failed to ensure that the sport is properly regulated and must ensure dramatic changes before the next games. If it cannot do so I regret that it should be excluded from the Olympic stage. A good start would be to demand and secure the resignation of the entire senior level of the AIBA.


  1. Oh dear, that sounds like you really mean it.

    I have no idea what boxing entails, have not watched the matches and wouldn't know decent refereeing from bad refereeing, but I hope that what you envisage doesn't come to pass. All sport must remain honest and uncorrupted, otherwise there's no point to it.

  2. Hear, hear, Janice. I was appalled by the boxing referee in one of the fights we watched. One young man was trying to use his boxing skill, but couldn't because his opponent just hung around his neck like an albatross, and when he wasn't doing that, his idea of boxing was to push the first young fellow over by grabbing his head and dragging him down.
    The referee would not interfere: he just wandered around the ring looking confused.
    We were horrified when the albatross was declared the winner. We didn't see him land a single punch!
    Tell Barry we agree with him.

  3. I'm not a boxing devotee but having seen the ravages of years of boxing in particular with the presence of Muhammed Ali at the opening ceremony, it is a very harsh sport.
    Any reforms would be welcome.


  4. I come from a similiar background to Barrys (but not boxed myself) and my son boxed at university; we were lucky enough to get tickets to see the Light-Fly and Light-Welter last Tuesdya evening. We thoroughly enjoyed the matches but were quite frankly astonished by some of the decisions. Fully appreciate that different judges see different blows landing etc but quite frankly some of the scoring was ludicrious. One chap quite clearly had the upperhand throughout the match but lost, the crowd were not impressed and the loser went out with hands held high and everyone in the arena chanting his name. I'm afraid it was ever thus though ... remember the LA Olympics?

  5. We still have our hopes pinned on Mary Kom.She's someone to be proud of. It isn't easy for a young lady with a family hailing from a not so affluent part of a country embroiled in political mess to have achieved what she did the other day.
    I don't know much about boxing rules but of late have been reading a bit because of the controversies.
    You sound ..errr...infuriated!Am sure it must be terribly difficult because you can 'see' what's happening.

  6. Hi Janice - interesting post and I probably agree ... but doing something about it - a bit like the International Football lot - let them line their pockets .... everyone else can stay behind - power corrupts.

    Cheers and interesting to know Barry comes from a boxing background ... Hilary

  7. It is well known that the AIBA's officials are a fraud. Too many scandals to just talk about mistakes. the sad truth is that you don't need to fight for a medal during the olympics you just buy it because they are for sale. the noble art is dying because of corruption and it's a shame

  8. Very third class level of work by AIBA's and No action from IOA, everything was terrible, Kick off all the officials responsible for this


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