Boxing Changes will come before 2016 games
The outcome of two fights had been reversed in Olympic boxing this last weekend. Magomed Abdulhamidov of Azerbaijan fell to the canvas five times against his opponent Satoshi Shimizu of Japan.
However, miraculously Magomed was awarded the fight after scoring was completed, much to the confusion and dismay of his opponent Satoshi. Later the ruling was overturned and the referee, Ishanguly Meretnyyazov of Turkmenistan, was sent home.
India’s welterweight fighter Krishan Vikas was deemed victorious over Errol Spence of the U.S.A. by referee Lars Brovil of Denmark during the Olympic boxing events. However, upon later review by officials, it became apparent that Brovil overlooked at least 8 holding fouls from Vikas just in the final round and the victory was eventually overturned in favor of Spence.
Currently, scoring is administered by five judges with an electronic button system that awards points for hits landed with the knuckle of the boxing glove to the head or upper body. While it may seem a far cry better than the tally system that caused uproar in the ’88 Seoul Games, the system still has a few fundamental flaws.
First off, there is no differentiation between a quick jab to the face or a powerful hook that sends a boxer flying toward the ropes or canvas. Also, there is no check against judge corruption. They can simply choose not to press the button to tally a hit. This means judges can simply ignore punches for any given fighter.
AIBA President Wu Ching-kuo is in favor of instating a 10-point “must” rule. This will allow judges to give points not just for hits landed, but also for footwork, speed, and ring demeanor. He notes the example of Muhammad Ali, a fighter who may not have landed the most punches every fight, but dominated the ring based on his superior style.
Hopefully in time for the 2016 Games, Wu plans to get rid of the protective headgear amateur fighters wear and offer professionals the opportunity to compete with the intent of saving the sport of Boxing from being omitted in future competitions.