In my career as a journalist, never have I seen such a debacle. The match in question was a bantamweight match, between Azerbaijan’s Magomed Abdulhamidovand Japan’s Satoshi Shimizu. On five occasions in one round, Shimizu knocked down Abdulhamidov, who also received a two-point penalty. The judges ended up awarding victory by judgment to his opponent, who was the one who spent more time on the canvas, and the referee didn’t stop the match as he would reasonably expected to during one of these downs, nor did he even start counting down a single knockdown. What exactly is going on with refereeing in the London Olympics?

(Video of the match result and audience reaction)

In the third round of the match, we could see Abdulhamidov start to get wobbly on his feet, and repeatedly get Shimizu in a clinch, hardly throwing any more punches. From this point he goes down once, then twice, but the referee doesn’t start counting any of these, possibly treating them like he slipped (video of match with commentary ). The third time Abdulhamidov goes down, the match seems certain for Shimizu, who raises both his hands in victory – but the referee does nothing for this and the subsequent knockdowns by Shimizu. How appalling that in the end, this referee is holding up Abdulhamidov’s hand as victor.

I am not any expert in boxing, but even to a complete novice, it’s bizarre to see one boxer knocking down the other and the referee doing nothing, let alone declaring the other one the winner. Japanese officials marched to the competition office with the 500 US dollars needed to lodge an appeal. The International Boxing Association (AIBA) said referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov, from Turkmenistan, has been expelled, and that the contest should have been stopped. Apparently there have also been some indications of the match(es) being fixed.

[ Read in Japanese ]