AIBA reassigns executive director after judging probe

Russia's Vladimir Nikitin, left, reacts as he won a men's bantamweight 56-kg quarterfinals boxing match against Ireland's Michael John Conlan at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The International Boxing Association has reassigned its executive director in the middle of the Olympics after an examination of the judging and refereeing at the games

RIO DE JANEIRO — The International Boxing Association has reassigned its executive director in the middle of the Olympics after an examination of the judging and refereeing at the games.

AIBA assigned Karim Bouzidi to a new role within the organization Thursday, but declined to elaborate on the reason.

Boudizi has been AIBA's executive director under President Wu Ching-Kuo for the past 15 months. The Frenchman is also the CEO of the World Series of Boxing, a team-based professional league run by AIBA.

Bouzidi, a former boxing manager who joined AIBA as an executive in 2012, was in charge of operating the Olympic boxing tournament. Those duties will be handled for the tournament's final four days by Franco Falcinelli, a vice president of the executive board and the president of the European Boxing Confederation.

The governing body dismissed an unspecified number of referees and judges from the Olympics on Wednesday after determining that "less than a handful" of Olympic bouts had been incompetently officiated. AIBA declined to name the judges or to state the reasons for their dismissal from Rio.

"The latest decisions taken emphasized AIBA will not shy away from its responsibilities and will continue to ensure a level playing field and a fair and transparent sport," AIBA's statement read Thursday. "It is of paramount importance to protect our sport and its (refereeing and judging) community, whose integrity is constantly put into question."

After a quiet opening week in Rio, a handful of questionable decisions threw yet another Olympic boxing tournament into turmoil with widespread condemnation of the judging and refereeing. AIBA moved from punch-counting points system to a professional 10-point scoring system for this Olympics, and most bouts had gone off without complaint until two conspicuous results favored Russian fighters early this week.

Russia's Evgeny Tishchenko won the heavyweight gold medal with a decision over Kazakhstan's Vassiliy Levit, who was more aggressive and more exciting throughout the bout. The vocal pro- Levit crowd booed Tishchenko heavily when he was announced as the winner, and again when he received his gold medal.

Ireland bantamweight world champion Michael Conlan then lost a quarterfinal decision to Russia's Vladimir Nikitin, who took tremendous damage and bled profusely from a previous cut during their bout. Conlan ripped off his vest, made obscene gestures at the ringside judges and then denounced AIBA and Russia as conspirators in corruption.

Nikitin was unable to continue in the competition after clinching a bronze medal. He was medically disqualified Thursday morning from his semifinal bout against Shakur Stevenson, who advanced by walkover to Saturday's final against Cuban gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez.

Several other fighters have complained vociferously about their losses in the last few days of the Olympics, as they invariably do in every international amateur boxing tournament.

AIBA declined to say which bouts were among the "handful" cited as their basis for removing the unnamed referees and judges. Officials from both of the most high-profile disputed bouts were still working at the Olympics on Wednesday.

"To me, it's back to what we were in 1988, when I fought in the Olympic Games and Roy Jones got robbed in the final," U.S coach Billy Walsh said. "I haven't seen it as bad since then. What happened after that? The computer came into the equation. Maybe we need to go back to the computer."

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