He may not have found solace in seeing Micheal Conlan get mugged by the judges and possibly the AIBA, but one Irish boxing judge must feel some form of vindication today.
Seamus Kelly was one of a number of senior officials – and the only one brave enough to go public – quoted in a Guardian story printed on August 1st of this year that warned bouts could be ‘fixed’ in Rio.
One senior figure said there was “no doubt” some of the judges and referees in Rio “will be corrupted,” and alleged that a group of officials get together before major championships to decide how to score certain bouts.
Such claims were initially dismissed as paranoia and untrue by the powers that be but some of the results, not just those including Irish fighters, in the most recent Games give more than just credence to the previously raised concerns.
Kelly, a judge who has been shunned by the AIBA didn’t directly predict Rio controversy, but the brave judge did go on record to reveal he was approached and asked to cheat at the Arab Games in Doha in 2011.
Kelly said he was asked to indicate who was winning the fight during the bout. He also claimed a fellow judge revealed signals were used during the European Championships in 2013.
It could be quite possible the approach to Kelly was a once-off from one bad apple in a good orchard, but the reaction of AIBA president Dr Wu when Kelly brought the issue to his attention is certainly concerning.
Kelly emailed Dr CK Wu and Dr Wu replied: “AIBA will immediately investigate this case. We are zero tolerance for this kind of cheating judges.” Kelly heard nothing further and believes he has been sidelined.
“It was mental abuse. I wasn’t sleeping at all because of the way they made me feel. It put an X against my name. They were pushing me away,” Kelly told the Guardian.
“People are afraid to speak out because if they are judges they will be sidelined and won’t get to go to the Olympics or other championships. If they are officials, they fear their country’s boxers will be targeted.”
AIBA, who said Kelly had been sent home from the 2014 World Youth Championships for displaying aggressive behaviour towards one of his colleagues, called Kelly’s allegantions ‘baseless’.
“Mr Kelly’s allegations are baseless and damaging to our sport,” the spokesman said. “His correspondence to us over the last two years has been erratic, bordering on extortion at times, and once he understood he would not reintegrate into AIBA despite numerous emails, he has decided to launch false accusations against our organisation.”
However, this weeks actions may act as some form of vindication from the shunned judge.