Japan were last night successful with an appeal against Satoshi Shimizu’s controversial Olympic Games bantamweight defeat to Magomed Abdulhamidov at ExCeL.
An International Boxing Association (AIBA) investigation was under way into how the initial result came to be, with action against the referee, Ishanguly Meretnyyazov of Turkmenistan, a possibility.
AIBA said the result had been overturned with Shimizu now declared the winner, and he goes forward to the quarter-finals.
Shimizu, trailing 12-5 going into the final round, hurt Azeri opponent Abdulhamidov with a body shot and proceeded to send him to the floor five times in the round, during which time Abdulhamidov also received a two-point penalty.
Yet the judges still contrived to score the final round equal at 10-10, which, with the addition of two points to Shimizu’s score, gave the Azeri, who had to be helped from the ring on unsteady legs, a 22-17 verdict.
The arena crowd bellowed their disapproval.
An AIBA statement released in the early hours read: “After reviewing the video of bout 105 involving bantamweights Satoshi Shimizu (Japan) and Magomed Abdulhamidov (Azerbaijan), the competition jury made the following decision:
- The boxer from Azerbaijan fell down six times during the third round. According to our rules, the referee should have counted at least three times. In this case, following the AIBA technical & competition rules, the decision should have been RSC (referee stop contest);
- Therefore the protest lodged by the Japanese corner is accepted and the result of this bout overturned.
“AIBA officials will consider on Thursday morning whether to sanction the referee of this bout.”
The earlier decision was so apparently flawed that former Olympic champion Lennox Lewis, who took heavyweight gold for Canada in 1988 before becoming a British citizen, called for an overhaul of the amateur boxing scoring system.
Lewis, who went on to be a world champion in the professional ranks, was watching at ringside.
He said: “What I am concerned about is probably the judging. I would.. change the judging system. Get some judges who score all year round.”
Angry Japanese officials marched to the competition office brandishing the 500 US dollars required to lodge an appeal, which began late in the evening.
A decision was expected in the morning rather than overnight, but when it came sooner than anticipated it was sure to have pleased the Japanese camp.
Shimizu said after coming out of the ring: “I am so shocked about the result. I don’t understand how I didn’t win. I don’t understand why the judges went against me.
“He fell down and the referee gave him almost 10 seconds to recover, which is not fair.”
In a further controversy, Iranian heavyweight Ali Mazaheri was disqualified in the second round of his bout against Cuba’s Jose Larduet Gomez after receiving three warnings for holding within a minute.
The incensed Iranian marched from the ring before the post-fight formalities and said: “I have never seen such a thing in the world. I could have won the bout but I had three warnings in a minute. I was not doing anything wrong.”