By Jake Donovan
A strange day of Olympic officiating was met with a bit of justice in the end.
Satoshi Shimizu of Japan will now advance to the bantamweight quarterfinals thanks to a ruling from the AIBA overturning the official decision in his bout with Magomed Abdulhamidov of Azerbaijain.
A statement from the AIBA reads as follows:
“After reviewing the video of Bout #105 involving Bantamweights Satoshi Shimizu (Japan) and Magomed Abdulhamidov (Azerbaijan), the Competition Jury made the following decision:
- The boxer from Azerbaijan fell down six (6) times during the 3rd round. According to our rules, the Referee should have counted at least three (3) times. In this case, following the AIBA Technical & Competition Rules, the decision should have been RSC (Referee Stop Contest);
- Therefore the protest lodged by the Japanese corner is accepted and the result of this bout overturned.
AIBA officials will consider on Thursday morning whether to sanction the referee of this bout.”
Their Round of 16 bout was one of the most bizarre in Olympic history, one which saw Shimizu attempt to rally from two knockdowns and a seven point deficit heading into the final round. The Japanese southpaw tried his hardest to pull a rabbit out of hat, repeatedly drilling Abdulhamidov to the point of having him out on his feet at several moments.
Abdulhamidov sensed he was in deep trouble and suddenly began searching for ways to kill the clock. Frequent flops to the canvas followed, as well as requests to adjust headgear that never actually moved. Referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov decided for whatever reason to waive off the majority of the flops, save for one occasion where he finally issued a two-point warning.
More concerning was the three knockdowns that went unrecognized. Shimizu – who never took a backward step the entire night even after being floored twice himself – repeatedly scored with straight lefts that had Abdulhamidov in all sorts of trouble. The AIBA rightfully recognized that the referee blew the calls, which if properly enforced would have resulted in a stoppage win for Shimizu.
The overturning of the final verdict allows Shimizu to move within one fight of the medal round. He will face Mohamed Ouadahi of Algeria in the final bantamweight bout on Sunday, August 5.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox