The boxer rebellion


The Olympic Games has been the springboard for boxing greats to emerge – think Muhammad Ali or Evander Holyfield. However, there are glaring differences in how bouts are scored by Olympic judges versus those used in professional fights. Landing clean punches, even very soft jabs, can score more than knockdowns. It isn’t uncommon for the judges’ decisions in the amateur format to go against the audience’s perception.

There have also been disputes in the boxing ring at China’s National Games, which were held in Tianjin earlier this month. In the final for the men’s 69kg category, Liu Wei, captain of the national team, seemed to have prevailed over his opponent over three rounds. However, he was defeated after all five judges ruled against him. Something similar happened in the 75kg category, stoking suspicion that the bouts were rigged.

Several boxers even refused to leave the ring in protest against the “unfair rulings”. The General Administration of Sport quickly weighed in, announcing last week that the national boxing team would be disbanded. Judges that officiated at the National Games have also been suspended, pending an investigation into potential match fixing.

There were further controversies in the title bout of the mixed martial arts (MMA) competition at the same tournament. Shaanxi’s Xu Jiaheng needed just two seconds to knock out his rival with a high kick. Netizens were soon questioning whether this too was rigged, although Xu insisted his strategy was just spot on.

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