Olympic Boxing Judges Sacked After Controversial Russian Wins

Russia's Vladimir Nikitin (R) fights Ireland's Michael Conlan during a men's quarterfinals boxing match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 16, 2016. Jae C. Hong / AP

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has expelled a number of judges from the Olympic Games after accusations that they fixed matches to favor Russian boxers.

Two Russian athletes were awarded controversial victories in two separate fights, sparking complaints from sportspeople, coaches and pundits.

Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin was awarded victory over Ireland’s Michael Conlan in Tuesday’s bantamweight quarterfinal, despite Conlan appearing to come out on top in all three rounds. Further controversy followed when Russian Evgeny Tischenko was also declared to have beaten Kazakhstan’s Vasiliy Levit, prompting boos from the crowd.

The AIBA announced Wednesday that it had expelled an undisclosed number of referees who they believed had “not been performing at the level expected.” From the 239 Olympic bouts, “less than a handful” were not up to standard, a spokesperson said.

The names of the dismissed referees and judges would not be disclosed to avoid “besmirching their families,” the organization said. Media outlets have reported that six of the tournament's 60 judges will no longer be working at the games.

Conlan launched into an expletive-laden tirade against AIBA in a ringside interview on Tuesday night, calling them “the most corrupt organization in the world.” He later took to social media, tweeting Russian President Vladimir Putin to ask “how much did they charge you [for fixing the match], bro?”

Nikitin has since pulled out of his semi-final due to injuries sustained in the fight against Conlan.

The AIBA have strongly denied the allegations of corruption, saying that they had seen “no tangible proof” of match fixing.

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