Controversy as Irish judge involved in Olympic heavyweight final ‘robbery’

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An Irish boxing judge has been involved in what is being described as the biggest Olympic robbery since Roy Jones Jnr’s ‘loss’ to South Korea’s Park Si-hun in Seoul 1988.

Tyrone’s Michael Gallagher, an AIBA 5 star Referee & Judge, saw fit to score Russian Evgeny Tischenko the victor of his Olympic heavyweight final with Vassily Levit on a controversial night in Rio.

Most felt that Kazakh heavyweight Levit was wrongfully denied the gold medal after a fight where he comprehensively outboxed, outmuscled, outworked, and outlanded the Russian.

A somewhat close and cagey first gave way to an increasingly dominant Levit performance which saw him almost stopping the Russian in the final round. Amazingly, Tischenko was awarded the bout 29-28 on all three cards.

The initial result was met with a cacophony of boos, which would continue throughout the medal ceremony, until Levit himself gestured to the crowd to quieten down.

Gallagher, the AIBA R&J of the Year in both 2011 and 2012, awarded round 1 to Levit before giving round 2 and, inexcusably, round 3 to Tischenko,

The other scoring officials at ringside were Colombia’s Armando Carbonell Alvarado and Algerian Kheira Sidi Yakoub.

Argentine referee Gerardo Poggi also came in for criticism, especially for his performance in the final round, where he consistently broke up Levit attacks and allowed a long gap during an intense period of Kazakh pressure to enable Tischenko have minor cuts inspected by the ringside doctor.

Last night’s shocking (although in a way, not shocking at all) decision will only add further fuel to a fire that has raged for a long time with regards to unjust results and corruption in the AIBA.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]