After the boxing turmoil that marred the Asian Games 2018, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) have decided to introduce a right to protest against controversial judgement so that fair play could be ensured.
During the 18th Asian Games taking place in Indonesia, two North Korean boxing coaches had their credentials for the tournament removed on Saturday when they refused to leave the ring and created an uproar among the crowd after their fighter was adjudged on the losing side to a boxer from China. The duo are facing disciplinary action by AIBA after the police had to intervene to remove them from Jakarta International Expo arena.
In another incident, a fan, encouraged by cornermen, jumped over the barriers after a fighter from Iraq lost the match.
AIBA executive director Tom Virgets said in an interview to AFP, “AIBA has a responsibility to ensure fair play and we’re going to make sure that happens. We’re going to have a protest committee in place because even in the best of times there will be (controversial) decisions, officials get tired, it’s like any other sport that is subjective.”
“No protest is (curretly) permitted and the decisions of the referee in a bout are final. Years ago we had a right to protest,” said Virgets. “The organisation felt it was being abused. They removed it from the rules. I think we swung the pendulum too far. We should have just corrected the process to get rid of the abuses, instead we did away with the protests. I think that increased the problems, because it increased the frustration by not having any avenue to see if a perceived wrong could be corrected.”
“Now the AIBA executive committee has voted to have a protest allowed and right now we are investigating different tools to use in order to have an appropriate process,” Virgets confirmed. “The technical rules committee is working on that and in the very near future we are going to see this rule implemented across all out competitions.”
This is not the first time that boxing faced judging controversy at the Asian Games. In 2014, Indian boxer Sarita Devi refused to accept her bronze after being declared lost in a fight against a Korean boxer. Devi was banned for a year for the protest.
Olympic future under threat
Even after Rio Olympics 2016, all 36 judges as well as officials were suspended after series of judging controversies and allegations of bout-rigging, leading to a turmoil within AIBA with Uzbekistan’s Gafur Rahimov now serving as an interim president earlier this year.
Boxing is under threat of being removed from Olympics all together and might not see a place in Tokyo 2020. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked AIBA to resolve its issues otherwise legends like Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Sugar Ray Leonard will receive Olympic extinction.
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