Rio-Olympics-Boxing1The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has sidelined all 36 referees and judges used at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games until an investigation has been concluded.

The boxing tournament at the Games was embroiled in controversy which saw AIBA remove an unspecified number of boxing judges from officiating after the huge criticism of decisions made there.


Trinidad and Tobago were represented by super heavyweight Nigel Paul who lost by knockout in the first round of his match.

Eyebrows were raised when Russia’s Evgeny Tishchenko took gold in the men’s heavyweight final after he was declared the winner in his clash with Kazakhstan’s Vassily Levit on August 15, despite appearing to be on the back foot throughout.

Bantamweight world champion Michael Conlan of Ireland was involved in one of the most controversial contests of the Games, having appeared to have dominated a quarter-final against Vladimir Nikitin.

However, despite leaving his opponent heavily bruised, the judges controversially awarded the Russian the victory.

Conlan then went on an expletive-laden rant in a post-fight interview with RTE, where he claimed AIBA were “cheats” and that amateur boxing “stinks from the core to the very top”.

The Irishman vowed never to fight again for AIBA, whose President C K Wu then revealed that Conlan faced disciplinary action after he put his middle finger up at the judges following his loss.

Nikitin was scheduled to take on eventual silver medallist Shakur Stevenson of the United States in the last four but pulled out “due to injuries sustained in his opening two wins”, ensuring he left Rio 2016 with a bronze medal.

AIBA made the decision to sideline the officials after its R&J and Technical and Rules Commissions had convened in Lausanne to discuss reforms and a “road map” for the next Olympic cycle leading to the Tokyo 2020 Games.

AIBA says it believes that the current 10-point scoring system is the best scoring method, despite admitting “its subjective criteria sometimes causes misunderstandings and public debates”.

As things currently stand, five officials judge each bout, however, a computer randomly selects three whose scores are counted.

For future events, a recommendation has been made to open up of all five of the judges’ scorecards to determine the winner of a bout.

The current R&J certification system was also discussed as part of the three-day meeting in the Olympic Capital, with proposals put forward to optimise and grow the R&J community over the next four years in accordance with the values and ethics set out by AIBA commission members.

The current five-star R&J programme is set to be disbanded and it is hoped there will be greater empowerment and efficiency brought to the role of R&J evaluators during competitions.

It was also recommended that the draw of the R&J’s for each bout will now be automated via AIBA’s supplier Swiss Timing, and no longer conducted by a three-person Draw Commission to instil greater transparency.

“As a governing body, AIBA will always seek to evolve the sport but will continue to refute unsubstantiated claims that have tarnished the reputation of our sport,” an AIBA statement said.