FanDuel - WFBC

August 02, 2012

Olympic Boxing Scandal: Japan's Satoshi Shimizu knocked down Azerbaijan's Magomed Abdulhamidov five times in the third and final round of their bantamweight bout yesterday. And yet, the judges scored the round in favor of Abdulhamidov, who spent more time on the canvas than on his feet.

posted by phaedon to boxing at 06:04 PM - 11 comments

Per the article, last year the BBC uncovered evidence of secret payments of $9 million from Azerbaijan to international boxing organisation World Series Boxing (WSB) in return for a guarantee that Azerbaijani fighters would win two boxing gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics.

posted by phaedon at 06:05 PM on August 02

Yeah, I have the NBC Olympics app on my iPad and they had the story about the "controversial" bout linked, so I watched the whole third round last night. The whole 5 minute video of the third round and judging result, I was saying "Wait, surely they aren't suggesting the Azerbaijan boxer will get a win- they just mean controversial because the ref isn't doing a count when the boxer falls down... again... and again... right?!" And lo and behold... that's exactly what happened. The NBC announcer even said during the round "The ref is trying to keep Adulhamidov in it! He should be doing a count, but he's trying to keep the match going! This is absurd! If Shimizu doesn't win in judging this is crooked!"

Then they announced the 22-17 result- and I'm not sure if Abdulhamidov even landed a single punch the entire round, since he was mostly hurt and cowering on the ground. The TV announcer understandly exploded with "And that's why this sport is a joke!" I have no idea if the announcer was even aware of the bribe story from last September, but I surely wasn't. Now that the connection has been made, and that story from last year- dismissed as unfounded at the time- has new life?! Jesus, what a disgrace.

It was unbelievably blatant, with no attempt to hide it. By comparison with the badminton story, I actually side with the athletes because hey, they play to win the medals, not to entertain the "fans", and you foolishly set up the tournament format to be exploited.

But this? Holy crap, so clearly rigged as to beggar belief. The ref was transparently crooked and refusing to do a 10-count, even urging Abdulhamidov to "get up, get up". Add to that the judges were crooked, and the fact that a well-documented story last September suggests the country involved was bribing a subsidiary of the organization responsible for organizing this event... well, in this rare case deadspin calls it right. I don't know if the Azerbaijani boxer was in on this or just wondering "Man, he's going really easy on me" but unquestionably the ref and judges need to be out of the Olympic village and banned from the sport immediately.

posted by hincandenza at 06:53 PM on August 02

The Japanese won their appeal and the referee has been expelled from the AIBA.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 07:12 PM on August 02

Next time we have to endure some snotty nonsense from boxing writers about how rubbish MMA is, we can point them right here.

posted by rodgerd at 07:51 PM on August 02

The worst part of it for me was that Abdulhamidov wasn't even getting knocked down. He clearly got his bell rung early in the round and was wobbly, but kept standing up, then falling back down again. Ric Flair would have rolled his eyes at those flops. The referee was beyond cheating -- he should have been arrested for attempted murder for not preventing Shimizu from hitting a guy who was utterly unable to defend himself.

posted by Etrigan at 07:54 PM on August 02

Somewhere, Roy Jones, Jr. is asking for another recount.

posted by TheQatarian at 08:30 PM on August 02

Nothing happens to the judges here?

posted by feloniousmonk at 08:51 PM on August 02

Technically, the judges didn't do anything wrong.

They count punches landed, not who won or lost a round.

Basically, by the Azerbaijani going down more often than an White House intern, he was wasting time and limiting the chance for the Japanese boxer to score more points. The Azerbaijani boxer had more points going into the final round (hence the announcers talking about an "amazing comeback"), so the referee just had to make sure he made it to the final bell.

posted by grum@work at 09:39 PM on August 02

Basically, by the Azerbaijani going down more often than an White House intern, he was wasting time and limiting the chance for the Japanese boxer to score more points.

I think the ref was implementing that part of the plan all by himself, while Abdulhamidov legitimately got his brain rocked and just couldn't put up a defense or even run away.

posted by Etrigan at 10:25 PM on August 02

going down more often than an White House intern

Or a hard rocker at Sussex Road, Ottawa during the residency of Mme. Trudeau.

posted by beaverboard at 10:47 PM on August 02

The Azerbaijani boxer had more points going into the final round (hence the announcers talking about an "amazing comeback"), so the referee just had to make sure he made it to the final bell.

The Japanese boxer had taken two 8-counts in the first round, and was trailing by (I think) seven points going into the third. The BBC live commentary is interesting: they start by praising the Japanese boxer's bravery, then realise that the Azerbaijani is out of steam, and they're just plain confused by the lack of any 8-counts, but assume that there are enough scoring punches in the round to flip the outcome.

The referee actually signalled a two-point deduction between the third and fourth knockdown, for arse-covering purposes, but taking that into account, the judges scored it level on scoring punches for the final round, which seemed... excessively generous.

Olympic boxing is not going to go away: too many countries are invested in it. But every four years, regardless of the tweaks to the system, this shit happens.

posted by etagloh at 12:40 AM on August 03

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