By Jake Donovan
Continued controversy in the world of amateur boxing has led to a major shakeup, including at the executive level of the AIBA.
An Olympic official was suspended, while another was shown the door along with the AIBA President, according a statement from the AIBA on Thursday morning.
Years of corruption and controversy in amateur boxing have reached a boiling point in the 2012 Summer Olympics, leading to the expulsion of AIBA International Technical Official Aghajan Abiyev, effective immediately.
“[F]ollowing a number of breaches of the AIBA Code of Conduct, the AIBA Olympic Compliance Committee proposed to the AIBA President to expel International Technical Official (ITO) Aghajan Abiyev (Azerbaijan) from the London 2012 Olympic Games with immediate effect. The decision was approved by the AIBA President and therefore Mr. Abiyev has now left the AIBA Delegation's hotel.”
The ruling comes less than a year after an investigation was conducted to look into rumors of medals being guaranteed for the nation of Azerbaijan stemming from alleged behind the scene deals by Chief Operating Officer of the AIBA's World Series Boxing (WSB), Ivan Khodabakhsh.
All charges were ultimately dismissed in Dec. ’11, but memories of the rumors surfaced Wednesday evening. A bantamweight round of 16 contest saw Azerbaijani fighter Magomed Abdulhamidov receive repeated assistance from referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov of Turkmenistan in a controversial points win over Japan’s Satoshi Shimizu.
Abdulhamidov was originally declared winner after three rounds of action, but further review from the AIBA review board overruled the decision. Meretnyyazov’s inept handling of what amounted to six separate trips to the canvas by the Azerbaijani bantamweight led to his being shown the exit.
It was decided that three of the falls were the result of clean knockdowns scored by Shimizu, but blatantly missed by the referee, who ruled each instance a slip.
A statement from the AIBA indicates that findings from the video review have led “to expel Referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov (Turkmenistan) from the London 2012 Olympic Games with immediate effect. Mr Meretnyyazov is on his way back home.”
Based on those findings, Abdulhamidov’s 22-17 points win was converted to a 3rd round stoppage (RSC-3) for Shimizu, who now advances to the quarterfinals.
Referee Frank Scharmach of Germany was granted a much lighter sentence, by comparison. The third man was issued a five day suspension following his role in disqualifying Iranian heavyweight Ali Mazaheri in Wednesday’s Round of 16 bout with Jose Larduet of Cuba.
Both fighters were issued public warnings in the bout, but Mazaheri was handled with extreme measures as three warnings led to a disqualification in round two.
Mazaheri was none too pleased with the verdict, nor was the crowd on hand. As it turns out, the AIBA didn’t care for as well, as they have elected to “suspend Referee Frank Scharmach (Germany) from Refereeing for a period of five (5) days, up to and including 06 August.”
The five-day unpaid vacation means that Scharmach will no longer be involved in any of the remaining Round of 16 action. A decision will be made as to whether or not his services will be used upon the completion of his suspension.
The series of incompetent officiating and poor decisions made at the executive level have humbled the AIBA. If nothing else, a silver lining comes in a much needed overhaul of the system in current form.
"I deeply regret that we had to take these decisions,” declared Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, AIBA President, in a statement. “However, our main concern has been and will always be the protection of the integrity and fair-play of our competitions. I will take all possible steps to reinforce this."
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: