Amateur boxing desperately needs a revamped scoring system, says former Olympic champion and Kazakh legend Bakhtiyar Artayev who also feels that allowing professional boxers in Olympics and expanding women’s events at the expense of men is a mistake.
Artayev, the 2004 Athens Olympics welterweight champion and the best boxer of that edition, is currently the manager of Kazakhstan’s World Series of Boxing (WSB) franchise — the Astana Arlans. The Astana Arlans team was here for a WSB clash against India which the visitors won 3-2.
Speaking to PTI, Artayev offered his ideas on how to make international amateur boxing “interesting” and also shed a critical light on some of the reforms that the International Boxing Association (AIBA) undertook in recent times.
“If I was in the AIBA, I would suggest that we should have amateur bouts of five rounds each instead of the current three rounds. The judging is not at all interesting right now. It is the same that was in use when I was competing,” Artayev, a two-time world championship bronze-medallist, said.
The 35-year-old, who had defeated Indian star Vijender Singh en route his 2006 Asian Games middleweight silver medal in Doha, said the current system allows boxers to be “boring” after grabbing the early advantage.
“…boxers get an idea of how they are doing because of the current system and tend to waste time. It is not fair. I suggest that judges should give more weight to the last 30 seconds of every round so that nobody spends time just running around,” he opined.
“Boxers should fight with intensity in every round. The current scoring system is not interesting enough, it makes boxing boring sometimes,” he said.
The imposing six-footer was also not particularly pleased with the International Olympic Committee for proposing to reduce the men’s weight categories from 10 to eight in the 2020 Tokyo Games. The IOC, as part of its gender parity initiative, has decided to increase the women’s weight categories from three to five.
“Don’t take from men and then give to women. I believe, for equality, you should expand women’s boxing but not at the cost of men’s boxing,” Artayev said.
The AIBA has opposed the reduction of men’s weight divisions and has so far not accepted the IOC’s proposal.
“I don’t think it’s fair to reduce the number of men’s weight categories in the Olympics. They used to be 13, then 11, now they are 10. If the weight categories are further reduced, it will not be good for the sport,” he added.
An AIBA initiative that has not gone down too well with him is to have male boxers compete without headguards.