In another bum decision in the London Olympic Games boxing finals, China was again favored when Zou Shiming was given the decision in the gold medal bout against Thailand’s gallant Kaew Pongprayoon who clearly won their light flyweight bout at the ExCel Arena, Sunday morning, Manila Time.
The crowd booed the decision and the international TV commentators openly criticized another of the dubious decisions that have rocked the London Games and seriously questioned AIBA President Wu’s leadership and claims of fairness and integrity..
Turkish referee Yasar Cinar and the five judges gave Zou all three rounds by one point each enabling the Chinese fighter to win 13-10 and repeat his Olympic triumph four years ago in Beijing.
Kaew came back furiously in the third round and caught Zou with some solid blows while the Chinese fighter resorted to grappling and throwing his opponent to the canvas for which he was warned several times. In the third round referee Cinar penalized Zou but almost as quickly penalized Kaew for absolutely no reason thereby cancelling the two point advantage of the Thai fighter.
Despite his clear advantage in round three the judges inconceivably gave the round to Zou also by one point.
Kaew was gracious in defeat although he was almost inconsolable right after the decision was announced.
The Thai fighter told the Bangkok Post “I’m still really happy that I got this silver medal. It might not be gold, but it’s still silver, and I’m really proud that I can bring it back for the Thai people and everyone back in Thailand.”
Reporters of TV Channels 3 and 11 spoke to the Thai team in London, and said there was an attempt to appeal the decision.
However, The International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) reportedly refused to accept a Thai team appeal, because under Olympic rules, it must be filed within five minutes of the results being announced.
It was the first time since 1992 that Thailand has failed to get a gold medal in boxing – in fact, any gold medal at all. The country finished with two silver medals in boxing and women’s weightlifting, and a bronze in women’s taekwondo.
The Post said “The boxing loss by Kaew was difficult to watch, hard to take, especially the way the fight went.”
In an even first round somehow the judges gave Zou ay 2-to-1 edge and despite the fact that Kaew came out aggressively in round two, at the very least holding his own against Zou who backpedaled and resorted to holding the judges again gave him the round by a 4-3 margin.
Knowing he was down by two points, Kaew came out furiously in the third round, throwing a flurry of punches to Zou’s body and connecting with some solid punches to the head.
With less than a minute to go, referee Cinar finally decided he had seen enough brawling from Zou and penalized the Chinese boxer but in an inexplicable decision told Kaew he was holding – and took a point from the Thai fighter, to even up the penalties.
The 32 year old Kaew said “I thought that I’d won and I could see that the crowd thought I’d won as well. Especially in the last round, I don’t know why they deducted the points from me. I felt that it was my match.”
When the decision was announced amidst boos a disconsolate and unbelieving Kaew slumped to the canvas, near tears because he knew in his heart he had won the bout.
Filipino Mark Anthony Barriga suffered the same fate at the hands of the referee in his second round bout against Kazakhstan’s Zakhypov when he was penalized two points in the dying moments of the third round and lost the fight by a point.
Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines president Ricky Vargas noted that Barriga had previously beaten Kaew as well as Ireland’s Paddy Barnes who lost on a count-back to Zou in the semi finals after battling to a 15-15 standoff.
Pongprayoon Kaew edged David Ayrapetyan of Russia, 13-12 in the semis. Barriga defeated the Russian AIBA World Championship silver medalist in the Sydney Jackson Memorial Tournament in Uzbekistan.