Colombia’s Ingrit Valencia’s hand was raised by the referee to declare the winner of the women’s flyweight quarterfinal against Mary Kom. That led to many eyebrows being raised in the Indian camp, which was confident that Mary had done enough to win.
Mary, a six-time world champion, had four judges ruling against her in the first round. This meant she lost this round 1-4.
In round two, three of them were in Mary’s favour, which means she won this round 3-2
A similar 3-2 pattern followed in round three to favour the 2012 bronze medallist
So, essentially, Mary won two of the three rounds. And yet, it was her opponent who was declared the winner with an overall 3-2 scoreline.
Here’s why that happened:
Going by the scores of the first two rounds, Mary needed a minimum 4-1 verdict in the final round to win the match. The Colombian, entered the semis, because Mary won the third and final round 3-2 and not 4-1, which is what she needed to swing the eventual scoreline her way.
But Mary and the Indian camp alleged that the scoring was not fair – that Mary had an upper hand in the last two rounds and she should have won.
Boxers cannot have bouts reviewed after a loss at the Olympics.
Mary told PTI after the bout – “The worst part is that there is no review or protest. Honestly I am sure the world must have seen, this is too much what they have done. You can’t do that here. I would have definitely protested otherwise.”
But those are the rules.
WHO IS DOING THE SCORING?
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has AIBA (world boxing body) under suspension for alleged financial wrongdoings and governance issues. This meant that AIBA could play no part in the Olympics.
As a result, the IOC’s Boxing Task Force is handling the organisation of the boxing event in Tokyo, which also includes the scoring.
But what leads to further doubts is when the scores of boxing bouts are not shown during live broadcast. That’s the case in Tokyo as well. What is shown is the judge wise break-up of the rounds and that too not for very long. Viewers therefore often struggle to decipher the ruling. What would make matters easier would be to show the scores after each round, stating which boxer has won the round and what the opponent needs to do to level the scoreline.
Interestingly, Mary represents the Asian bloc on the IOC Task Force. The 2016 edition of the Games had led to 36 boxing officials being suspended on the judging front.
WILL REVIEW RULES CHANGE IN THE FUTURE?
A boxing bout review system is on the anvil as promised by AIBA’s new president Umar Kremlev, but first the world body needs to get its own recognition back.
The AIBA is trying to regain IOC recognition by bringing in several changes in the administrative set-up under new President Umar Kremlev, which includes the introduction of the bout review system to ensure that boxers’ grievances are addressed.
Meanwhile, boxers and fans struggle to sometimes come to terms with results which on the face of it seem quite strange.