THE SEOUL GAMES / DAY 16 : Boxing Ends Where It Began: in Controversy : U.S. Fighter Loses Bout He ‘Won’ Amid Charges of Bribery, Cheating
The Olympic boxing tournament ended Sunday, but the controversy continued with a charge of bribery, the president of the Amateur International Boxing Assn. saying he believed the result of one match was unfair, and the resignation of the president of the Korean Amateur Boxing Federation.
The United States boxing team wound up with a third gold medal but said it had been cheated out of another.
Ken Adams, the American coach, said he had seen a Korean offer bribes to two officials.
“One of the men was the East German referee (Gustav Baumgardt, the referee in the super-heavyweight bout involving Riddick Bowe of the U.S., who was stopped by Canadian Lennox Lewis in the gold-medal fight),” Adams said. “The other time, he showed a judge--I don’t know which one--a wallet full of cash.”
(The Associated Press reported that Adams had said the judge in question was one of those who worked the 156-pound final in which 19-year-old Roy Jones lost a disputed 3-2 decision Sunday to South Korean Park Si Hun.)
Yoon Dae Won, a press spokesman for the boxing venue at the Olympic Sports Complex, said that what Adams had seen was merely the presentation of commemorative key chains to the officials. He said the key chains were the size of gold nuggets and were given to all Olympic boxing officials.
Adams stuck to his story, even after being told of Yoon’s explanation.
“Hey, I got a good enough look at it,” he said. “It was no key chain, it was a gold ingot.
“I saw somebody show some gold and somebody opening a wallet,” Adams said. “There were pieces of gold wrapped in a rag. I don’t know whether they took it or not. I’m not saying they took it. I did not see him take anything.”
Adams said the two incidents had occurred “earlier in the tournament,” while he was waiting with his boxers for U.S. bouts.
Meanwhile, Anwar Chowdhry of Pakistan, president of the AIBA, told NBC-TV that the Jones decision was unfair, and Kim Seung Youn, president of the Korean federation said he was resigning from all boxing-related positions--not because of the Jones-Park decision but because of the ring melee instigated by Korean officials Sept. 22.
“Today’s decision is very, very fair,” Kim said of the Jones bout. “There is no scandal today. It cannot happen. I cannot understand why foreigners have such prejudice against Korea.”
Chowdhry disagreed. “I think that it was not fair,” he said. “Unfortunately, in boxing we have been having bad decisions in every international tournament,” he said.
The American delegation hotly agreed with him, seething over what U.S. officials called one of the worst decisions ever in Olympic boxing.
Judges Bob D. Kasule of Uganda, Alberto Duran of Uruguay and Hiouad Larbi of Morocco all favored the South Korean in a light-middleweight bout that looked like a Jones runaway to nearly everyone else in the building. Even two Eastern Bloc judges, Zaut Gvadjava of the Soviet Union and Sandor Pajar of Hungary, scored it big for Jones, 60-56. Kasule scored it 59-59 but designated Park the winner, and the two other judges scored it 59-58 for Park.
While American officials were still raging at the AIBA’s executive board during the remainder of the session, light-heavyweight Andrew Maynard quietly won the Americans’ final gold medal.
He defeated the Soviet Union’s Nourmagomed Chanavazov, 5-0.
Kennedy McKinney and Ray Mercer had won gold medals Saturday.
In a dull, uninspiring bout with Chanavazov, Maynard got a 5-0 decision. That bout, though, looked far closer than Jones’.
And in the 429th and final bout of the tournament, the uninspired Bowe was stopped in the second round by Lewis, who won Canada’s first boxing gold medal since 1932.
Adams and several other Americans said that Baumgardt, the referee, stopped the Bowe-Lewis bout too quickly. He had given Bowe a standing-8 count earlier in the second round, then another, then stopped it, even though Bowe did not appear to be in serious difficulty.
“Bowe deserved the two standing-8s, but the guy never should’ve stopped the bout,” Adams claimed.
As for the Jones decision, Adams said: “It was outrageous; it was the worst decision I’ve seen in 30 years of coaching boxing. They gave it to the Korean when everyone in the world knew who won it.”
Maynard, even with a gold medal around his neck, said he felt only pain for his roommate, Jones.
“I can’t feel happy now,” he said. “My blessings go out to that young man (Jones). I’m trying to imagine what Roy Jones feels like right now.”
Jones felt robbed. “I thought I had beaten him to a point where I couldn’t get robbed,” said Jones. “Unfortunately, I did.”
He said he was considering retiring from boxing and had to be talked into going on the victory stand to accept the silver medal.
“I really didn’t want to take it at first,” he said. “I won’t wear it around my neck ever again.”
Even the AIBA’s 7-member executive committee seemed embarrassed. In a gesture that was perceived by everyone as one to placate the angry Americans, the AIBA announced that Jones had won the award as outstanding boxer of the Games.
NBC reported that on the Korean TV network, announcers said at the start of the third round that it would take a knockout by Park to defeat Jones. The network also reported a flood of complaints by Korean viewers calling in, claiming to be embarrassed at the decision.
Adams reacted with shock when he was tipped by someone at the AIBA executive committee table that Park was about to be announced as the winner. At the same time, Park’s coaches reacted with unrestrained joy, and no doubt with some disbelief.
Adams left the ring apron and walked toward the AIBA table, shouting angrily.
Even for many Koreans, it was a stunner. Some joined the Americans in the crowd and booed.
Jim Fox, executive director of the USA Amateur Boxing Federation, was white-faced afterward.
“That’s the first time that I’ve seen something absolutely taken from us in the Olympics,” he said. “It’s the worst decision I’ve ever seen in international boxing, period.”
Also among the outraged was Elmo Adolph, the only U.S. referee selected to work the tournament.
“That was the worst decision I’ve ever seen in 24 years of refereeing,” he said.
“It was an absolute steal. And you know what? I’m going to quit. I’ve had it with international boxing. I’m packing it in.
“If this wasn’t politics, then I can’t believe the incompetence of these judges, sitting at ringside and not being able to recognize good Olympic-style boxing.
“This was stolen. And the Carbajal decision stunk, too.”
Saturday, the U.S. delegation had protested light-flyweight Michael Carbajal’s 5-0 decision loss to Robert Isaszegi of Hungary.
Complaints in the Olympics over referees and judges are not uncommon, but this tournament had actually been fairly quiet that way, the major exception being the South Koreans’ attack upon New Zealand referee Keith Walker.
The U.S. delegation, in fact, had not had a single noteworthy complaint going into the finals. But then came the Carbajal and Jones bouts, and with them the rage.
Some even thought that Bowe, a trim 213 pounds at the weigh-in, was short-circuited by the overzealous East German referee, Baumgardt, who quickly stopped the bout in the second round after Lewis had rocked Bowe with a right-left combination.
Earlier in the round, Bowe had taken a standing-8 when Lennox blistered him on the ropes with a combination.
But it takes three standing-8s in a round to automatically end a bout, or four in the bout.