By Frank Warren
Joe Joyce, I believe, can count himself unlucky that he is not entering the next phase of his career with a gold-plated bargaining chip draped around his neck.
I do go along with the train of thought that the super heavyweight silver medallist was hard done by with unfavourable scoring in Sunday’s gold medal match against the Frenchman Tony Yoka, but it wasn’t a Rio robbery on the scale of Michael Conlan’s blatant mugging a few days before, which probably tainted our perspective of subsequent events in the ring at Riocentro.
Anthony Joshua made a typically astute observation in his role as a BBC analyst, pointing out that the only way to be sure of succeeding as an Olympic super heavyweight is to remove the judges from the equation and plonk your opponent on the canvas.
Joshua will know full well that the decision that went against Joyce was probably no more contentious than the one awarded to himself over the Italian Roberto Cammarelle in London 2012.
Back then, the Lottery-funded Joshua actually won the Lottery with his gold medal and resultant windfalls. To make a comparison, you could say Joyce got five numbers.
Securing a silver medal is still a fantastic achievement and congratulations to Joe, who conducted himself with tremendous dignity post-fight despite his obvious disappointment.
The fact Yoka was deemed to have won the first round after Joyce looked like he edged it showed the thought process of the judges and took the Putney-based puncher into do-or-die territory.
It was always going to be an uphill struggle to turn the tables and perhaps he should have let his hands go a little earlier to provide a more compelling case to be awarded victory.
Of course it shouldn’t be like that and we should be able to place our faith in the judges to pass down honourable verdicts, but go to any amateur boxing event in the country and you will find boxers who feel cheated by decisions.
It is why so many amateurs can’t hang up the vest soon enough and want to try their hand in the professional ranks.
I am not saying every decision is passed without question in the pros, but there is far greater scrutiny and most of the time at least two of the three judges gets it right.
When they don’t, we as promoters can facilitate rematches or, in the event of a title contest, the governing bodies can mandate a return.
But you don’t get a second bite at Olympic glory – not for another four years anyway – and if you are left with a bad taste you are unlikely to want to come back for a second helping.
Here’s a thought. With AIBA seemingly so keen on introducing professional boxers into Olympic competition, how about drafting in professional judges?
The scoring is now conducted pretty much along professional lines, so the introduction of experienced judges would make sense.
It wouldn’t guarantee every call being made 100 per cent correctly, but it would help eradicate the whiff of suspicion that continues to linger around Olympic boxing.
The thoughts of everyone at Queensberry Promotions and BoxNation continue to be with Charlie Webster, who remains in hospital in Rio having contracted a rare strain of malaria.
Thankfully, reports on her recovery have been positive and she is responding well to treatment, with the next goal being strong enough to return to the UK.
Get well soon Charlie, we look forward to seeing you and having you back on BoxNation as soon as possible.
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