By Jake Donovan
Team USA isn't done yet after all.
A successful appeal was filed by the US Olympic Boxing squad to overturn the official verdict in the welterweight Round of 16 contest between USA's Errol Spence and Krishan Vikas of India, the AIBA announced Friday evening.
"After reviewing the video of Bout #142 involving Welterweights (69kg) Krishan Vikas (India) and Errol Spence (USA)," stated the AIBA, "the Competition Jury found the following:
- There were a total of nine (9) holding fouls committed by the Indian boxer in the third round alone. However the Referee only gave one caution;
- In the second round, at the time 02:38, the boxer from India spitted out his gumshield intentionally. However the Referee didn't give any warning.
"Based on these findings, the Competition Jury Members unanimously decided the following:
- Decision #1: Based on the AIBA Technical & Competition Rules 12.1.9, the Referee should have given at least two (2) warnings to the Indian boxer;
- Decision #2: Although the boxer from India intentionally spitted out his gumshield, the Referee's view was blocked by the boxer from the USA and was not able to see the action;
- Final Decision: Based on Decision #1, at least four (4) points should have been awarded to the boxer from the USA.
"Therefore, the final score should be 13:15 in favour of the USA. The protest is accepted and the winner of Bout #142 is Errol Spence (USA)."
Spence appeared to have won the bout even without the aforementioned fouls and additional points to his tally. The American clearly dominated the action in the third round of a fight in which he trailed by one to that point. Vikas repeatedly ran, held and sought ways to kill the clock, yet was somehow rewarded by winning the round and the fight.
The decision was so startling that even the referee raised the arm of Spence before realizing "the red corner" meant Vikas was the victor.
With the successful appeal, Spence breathes new life into his previously eliminated boxing squad. The Dallas (TX) native now owns the two most recent wins for Team USA, which serve as bookends for an eight-fight losing streak.
"I am obviously thrilled that my the competition jury overturned my decision and I can continue chasing the gold medal I came here to win," Spence said in a statement. "I am going to make the most of this second chance that I’ve been given. I can’t wait to get back in that ring on Tuesday."
The originally announced loss would have marked the first time in its history that the U.S. Men's team failed to win a single medal in any given Olympic competition in which it has participated.
The overturned verdict still doesn't guarantee Team USA a medal. Spence advances to the quarterfinals, but awaiting him is a dangerous challenge in Russia's Andrey Zamkovoy, who dominated Adam Nolan of Ireland in an 18-9 win Friday evening.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: