Only in boxing could something so outrageous occur at the London Olympics. There have been poor judges decisions and ridiculous disqualifications and just about anything else you can think of for this sorted sport. But what happened at these Games is utterly head-shaking.
This is beyond controversial, as it has been called in many quarters of the world. It’s downright criminal, one of the more disgraceful results in a sport layered in disgraceful acts.
Referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov of Turkmenistan was sanctioned by the IOC for apparently not knowing the rules and certainly not applying them. This man allowed a boxer to be knocked to the canvas six times in one round. Here’s the rub: Olympic rules indicate a fight is automatically stopped after three knock downs.
And get this: Remarkably, the fighter, who was floor a half-dozen times, Magomed Adbulhamidov, was awarded the round — yes, the same round in which he was decked six times – and was granted the decision by the judges, 22-17. Seriously.
The Japanese boxer who blasted his opponent, Satoshi Shimizu, was astonished when he heard the judges’ decision. I was shocked by the final scores,” Shimizu said after the match. “Why didn’t I win? I don’t understand.”
The only thing that makes this story readable is that the ruling was overturned night after a Japanese appeal. International boxing officials ruled that the referee should have counted three of the knockdowns and stopped the fight. Somehow, there was no mention of how the judges could have called the fight for the fighter that got beat down.
He actually led the bout early but fell behind late thanks to a barrage from Shimizu. The Azerbaijan knew he was in trouble. Instead of fighting, he tried to run out the clock and rely on his previous points to advance to the quarterfinal, beginning stall tactics that included flopping to the ground and stopping to adjust a headgear that wasn’t in need of adjustment. At one point, Meretnyyazov, the referee, stopped the fight to help him do so.
Last year, Azerbaijan was alleged to have paid millions to an international boxing organization in order to assure its fighters would win two gold medals in London. The country denied the BBC report. Seems this fight should be investigated further.