The USA Amateur Boxing Federation will seek a lifetime ban on the three judges who voted against American boxer Roy Jones in his gold-medal bout at the Olympic Games boxing tournament last week.
And U.S. officials have not dismissed the possibility that the South Korea Amateur Boxing Federation exerted influence on the International Amateur Boxing Assn. (AIBA) to get favorable judge assignments for last weekend’s gold-medal bouts.
Two South Koreans, flyweight Kim Kwang Sun and light-middleweight Park Si Hun, who was given the decision over Jones, won gold medals.
Jones, from Pensacola, Fla., appeared to be a runaway winner against Park in the light-middleweight bout but lost a 3-2 decision in a verdict U.S. officials are calling one of the worst in Olympic memory.
Paul Konnor, a Milwaukee attorney and a USA/ABF official, said Thursday that he would seek a permanent ban on judges Alberto Duran of Uruguay and Hiouad Larbi of Morocco, both of whom scored the bout 59-58 for Park, and Bob D. Kasule of Uganda, who scored the bout 59-59 but designated Park the winner.
“We’re investigating the entire matter, and we’re asking in a letter to Anwar Chowdhry (the Pakistani president of the AIBA) that Duran, Larbi and Kasule be given lifetime suspensions from international amateur boxing,” Konnor said.
“In 40 years in amateur boxing, that was the worst decision I’ve ever seen,” he said.
The two judges who scored the bout for Jones, 60-56, were from the Soviet Union and Hungary. Konnor is the United States’ representative to the 42-member AIBA executive committee, and chairman of its legal commission.
It was also charged this week by another U.S. official that Duran and Larbi had been suspended earlier in the tournament for poor work. Chowdhry confirmed at a news conference late in the tournament that eight judges and referees had been suspended during the tournament, but would not identify them.
The pulling of judges and referees from Olympic and world championship tournaments is routine. It is not routine, however, for them to be reinstated for the gold-medal bouts.
“Larbi and Duran were on the suspended list by the end of the tournament,” said Stan Hamilton of Knoxville, Tenn., a judge-referee. He was working only the judge-referee assignment desk at the Olympics.
“The night before the finals, we argued until 2 a.m. over the list of referees and judges we’d submit to the executive committee the next morning. Duran and Larbi weren’t even discussed. Our understanding was, they were out of the tournament.
“I tried to go into the (executive committee) meeting the next morning to make sure that list was intact, but they threw me out. Next thing I know is, Larbi and Duran are back in the tournament.”
Before the executive committee meeting ended, Hamilton said, committee member Vladimir Gordienko of the Soviet Union left the meeting early and sought out Jim Fox, executive director of the USA/ABF.
“Gordienko was angry,” Hamilton said. “He found Fox and told him: ‘You will lose, 5-0, to the Bulgarian.’ ”
He referred to the gold-medal light-flyweight bout between Michael Carbajal of Phoenix and Ivailo Hristov of Bulgaria. Carbajal appeared to many to have won a decision, but all five judges scored it 59-58 for the Bulgarian.
Among them were Duran and Kasule.
Hamilton said there was a second departure from tournament procedure for the gold-medal bouts, in addition to the reinstatement of the judges.
“Throughout the tournament, we drew officials and referees by draw, by pulling numbered Ping-Pong balls out of a box,” he said.
“For the gold-medal bouts, the referees and judges were assigned, not chosen by random.”
After the Jones decision, U.S. Coach Ken Adams leveled a bribery charge against the South Koreans, claiming he saw a Korean showing East German referee Gustav Baumgardt and one other unidentified official “little gold ingots and cash” in an arena hallway.
Elmo Adolph of Destrehan, La., the only U.S. referee-judge assigned to work the tournament, said he believed Larbi was consciously favoring U.S. opponents. “When I looked over his shoulder and saw that he’d scored that first round for Park (in the Jones-Park gold-medal bout), I thought, ‘Oh, wow--something’s happened!’ ” Adolph said.
Adolph said he would never work another international tournament because of the Jones decision.
“Larbi is not an incompetent official,” Adolph said. “He knows how to score a 20-18 round, I’ve worked with him before. That was a clear-cut 20-18 round for Jones, and he knew it.
“Really, it comes down to a question of morals and honesty, not incompetence, in my opinion. All during the tournament we kept hearing about the South Koreans being all over some judges, taking them out to dinner, giving them gifts.
“I heard about a judge, I don’t know which one, who was out all night with a woman the South Koreans set him up with.”
“The whole experience was a nasty business, and I’m through with it.”