OPINION: New Zealand heavyweight David Nyika made historical past final week when he defeated Belarus’ Uladzislau Smiahlikau to achieve the lads’s heavyweight semifinals.
The 25-year-old is now assured not less than bronze – his nation’s first boxing medal of any color since 1992 – and can struggle for gold if he upsets Russia’s Muslim Gadzhimagomedov on Tuesday.
The Kiwi will hope to get a good shake on the scorecards in opposition to the highest seed, one thing which has not at all times been the case within the sport’s murky historical past on the Video games.
Whereas there have been no main judging controversies in Tokyo to date, barring a disqualification for repeated headbutts, earlier Olympics have witnessed some extremely doubtful – and downright corrupt – selections that robbed fighters of their probability of glory.
Listed below are 5 of essentially the most contentious calls that gave Olympic boxing a black eye.
Kevin Barry v Evander Holyfield (Los Angeles 1984)
New Zealand’s Barry was the beneficiary of some questionable refereeing on his technique to successful a silver medal on the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
The Christchurch fighter, who had already secured his nation’s second Olympic boxing medal, was a sizeable underdog in his mild heavyweight semifinal with a younger American sensation known as Evander Holyfield.
The 21-year-old Holyfield had blitzed his approach via the competitors, successful all three of his fights by knockout, and appeared destined to win gold.
However he was denied that chance when close to the top of the second spherical, Yugoslavian referee Gligorije Novičić disqualified him for a purported late hit on Barry that despatched the New Zealander tumbling to the canvas.
The cruel name despatched the partisan crowd right into a frenzy, with Novičić wanted a police escort to flee the world. The truth that the referee’s countryman, Anton Josipović, had already booked his place within the last fuelled claims of corruption.
Whereas formally declared the winner, Barry was unable to struggle for gold after being knocked out and thus prohibited from combating for 28 days underneath strict newbie guidelines. Josipović was duly topped Olympic champion unopposed.
Roy Jones Jr v Park Si-Hun (Seoul 1988)
This infamous theft within the males’s mild middleweight last is among the many most scandalous ever seen on the Video games.
The 19-year-old Jones Jr had set the event alight along with his superlative expertise, knocking out Malawi’s Mtendere Makalamba in his opener, outclassing Czech Michal Franek within the spherical of 16 and seeing off the Soviet southpaw Yevgeny Zaytsev within the quarterfinals.
Britain’s Richie Woodall was swept apart within the semifinals because the American arrange a gold medal showdown with South Korea’s Park Si-Hun. Park had already benefited from some beneficiant officiating in the course of the competitors, however nothing near the favours he would obtain within the last.
In a completely one-sided affair, Jones Jr ran rings round his rival, outlanding Park by 86 punches to 32 and forcing two standing eight counts to seemingly win going away.
Or so he thought. Three of the 5 judges inexplicably declared Park because the winner, robbing Jones Jr of his golden second. To the South Korean’s credit score, he knew he’d been properly overwhelmed and made some extent of holding Jones Jr’s arm aloft in the course of the medal ceremony.
Years later, it emerged that a number of judges had been wined and dined by Korean boxing officers, although the IOC discovered “no proof of corruption”. Jones Jr, in the meantime, continues to struggle for the medal he insists was “stolen” from him 33 years in the past.
Floyd Mayweather v Serafim Todorov (Atlanta 1996)
Extensively thought of one of many biggest boxers of all time, Mayweather retired from the sport in 2017 with a perfect record of 50-0 having captured titles in 5 totally different weight lessons.
You need to go all the best way again to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta for the final time the American tasted defeat, albeit in extremely debatable circumstances.
Aged 19, Mayweather had given discover of his prodigious expertise en path to the featherweight semifinals, stopping Kazkhstan’s Bakhtiyar Tileganov, routing Armenia’s Artur Gevorgyan after which narrowly outpointing Cuba’s Lorenzo Aragon in a barnburner.
That 12-11 victory over the longer term Olympic silver medallist meant that solely Serafim Todorov stood between him and a shot at gold. A 3-time world champion, Bulgaria’s Todorov was anticipated to supply a tricky problem. But the elusive Mayweather dominated their contest, continuously making his opponent miss and pay.
Referee Hamad Hafaz Shouman was so satisfied Mayweather had received that he mistakenly raised his hand earlier than it was introduced that Todorov was the victor by a single level. A distraught Mayweather walked out of his post-fight interview at ringside in tears as boos rang across the area.
The US group instantly filed a protest over the “incompetent” choice and one of many 4 American judges working on the Video games resigned in disgust. But it surely in the end fell on deaf ears as Todorov superior to the ultimate, the place he was overwhelmed by Thailand’s Somluck Kamsing.
Anthony Joshua v Erislandy Savón (London 2012)
The then-22-year-old Joshua was Britain’s greatest boxing hope on the 2012 London Video games, however he nearly got here unstuck within the first spherical of the tremendous heavyweight competitors.
Drawn in opposition to Cuban stylist Erislandy Savón – nephew of three-time Olympic champion Felix – a gun-shy Joshua seemed to be outboxed and outclassed all through the three-round contest, the person from Guantanamo touchdown the cleaner blows and largely avoiding the incoming hearth.
But someway the judges did not see it that approach, gifting Joshua a 17-16 victory that had greater than a whiff of house cooking about it. Even the closely partisan crowd contained in the ExCeL Exhibition Centre had been aghast on the injustice, greeting the choice with a combination of groans and embarrassed laughter.
The Daily Mail’s Jeff Powell called the result a “travesty” and mentioned it got here at “a price to the British status for honest play”. Joshua went on to win gold, edging Italy’s defending champion Roberto Cammarelle within the last on a countback.
Joshua has gone on to grow to be one of many sport’s greatest stars since turning professional a 12 months after the Video games. He at the moment holds the IBF, WBO and WBA world heavyweight titles, which he’ll defend in opposition to fellow 2012 Olympic gold medallist Oleksandr Usyk on September 25 in London.
Michael Conlan v Vladimir Nitkin (Rio 2016)
Irish bantamweight Conlan’s expletive-laden rant at “corrupt” Olympic boxing body AIBA after dropping within the quarterfinals in Rio was one of many defining moments of these Video games.
Conlan, the reigning world champion and a bronze medallist in London 4 years earlier, seemed to have carried out greater than sufficient to win but the judges scored the bout in favour of Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin.
An indignant Conlan refused to take the doubtful choice mendacity down. After flipping the chicken on the officers, he gave an impassioned TV interview wherein he accused Russia of influencing judges and vowed to by no means struggle in an AIBA competitors once more.
“Clearly Russia cannot dope this time so they’re clearly paying the judges much more,” Conlan ranted. “Newbie boxing stinks from the core proper to the highest. I will by no means field for AIBA once more, they’re dishonest bastards.”
Days later, AIBA introduced an undisclosed variety of referees and judges had been despatched house as “lower than a handful of the selections weren’t on the degree anticipated.”
Conlan would get his revenge in opposition to Nikitin, beating him on factors in knowledgeable contest three years later.