Dismayed PH boxing team slams 'atrocious' Asiad shenanigans
MANILA, Philippines – The grand finale to the Philippines’ boxing campaign in the 2018 Asian Games was anticlimactic, to say the least.
The country watched 24-year-old Rogen Ladon go for gold in the men’s flyweight final against Uzbekistan’s Jasurbek Latipov, and just as the Filipino completed a clean opening round with clear, landed jabs and combinations, it was over.
The referee stopped the bout 22 seconds into the 2nd round as both fighters’ heads collided, resulting in a gash to open up above Ladon’s left eyebrow just opposite his older cut.
The fight went to the scorecards and somehow, Latipov won 3-1 and the flyweight gold medal.
Three judges from Tunisia, Iran and Australia gave Round 1 to Latipov, 10-9, and only one judge from Indonesia gave the 22-second Round 2 to Ladon. The final tally was 20-18, 20-18, 20-18, 19-19 and 18-20 in favor of the Uzbek.
This stunned Ladon, who clearly felt that he got the 1st round and that he didn’t even feel Latipov land a punch.
“Kumbaga sinadya na ata yung [headbutt] eh,” he told reporters post-fight. “Na-ano niya rin ako eh kasi alangan din siya sa akin, lumalaban din ako sa kanya.”
(I think Latipov headbutted me on purpose. He felt tentative against me because I was fighting him back.)
“Siyempre na-dismaya ako na hindi man lang siya nakatama,” he continued. “Mas marami pa tayong sinuntok na tinama sa kanya pero ganun pa rin yung tawag nila. Wala kami magawa kasi ganun talaga. Hindi naman natin hawak yung judges.”
(Of course I’m dismayed because he didn’t even hit me. I landed more punches but they still scored it that way. We couldn’t do anything because that’s how it goes. We don’t have the judges in our favor.)
Veteran boxing writer Ryan Songalia of RingTV chimed in on the fight and also couldn’t understand how Latipov won.
The entire second round between Rogen Ladon & Jasurbek Latipov . Ladon attacks, accidental butt, doctor stops the bout after 15 seconds. How in the world can enough be decided there for 4 of 5 judges to score the round for Latipov other than preference? #AsianGames2018 pic.twitter.com/wA9uaC11Rk— Ryan Songalia (@ryansongalia) September 1, 2018
Kind of a raw deal since there was nothing really to separate the two. The second round lasted 22 seconds and yet 4 of 5 judges somehow saw to give it to the guy backing up. There’s a reason pros don’t go to technical decision until after 4. https://t.co/y0m9Rcnft7— Ryan Songalia (@ryansongalia) September 1, 2018
Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) executive director Ed Picson likewise felt the same way. He noted the confusion among Hungarian referee Piroska Beki and the other fight officials.
“Well actually, we were confused as well,” he said. “Because the announcement was it was RSCI – referee stopped contest due to injury. In which case, the injured boxer loses, because the injury was caused by a legal punch.
"Now, if it were a clash of heads, unintentional, then you go to the scorecards. But then again, as you saw, the scorecards reflected that the Uzbek won both rounds. So there was no way that we could win it.
“But we don't understand why the officials could not agree amongst themselves whether it was RSCI or winner on points,” he continued. “But then again, that's beside the point. Whatever decision it was, it was obvious that they didn't see us winning.”
Picson concluded that once again, shady events have crept their way into amateur boxing.
“We've seen a lot of strange things happening here, not just with the Philippine team but so many other teams,” he said.
“So it's really very sad that it has come to this. We have talked to other countries and they are just as upset as we are. It's atrocious.”
This is not the first time the Philippine contingent became the victim of alleged corruption that is currently putting boxing in danger of getting excluded from the 2020 Olympics.
Filipina featherweight bet Nesthy Petecio suffered a controversial 2-3 split decision loss at the hands of China’s Yin Jun Hua, who has since moved on to the gold-medal match against North Korea’s Jo Son Hwa.
ABAP petitioned that the judges who scored the fight against Petecio be banned from scoring future fights involving Filipinos, which was granted.
In this year’s Asiad, all seven gold-medal matches in the men’s division had Uzbekistan fighters competing.
The current president of the world’s amateur boxing governing body International Boxing Association (AIBA) is Gafur Rahimov from Uzbekistan.
Rahimov serves as interim president after former head Ching-Kuo Wu of Chinese Taipei was removed following allegations of mismanagement.
Five out of seven Uzbek boxers won the gold, including Ladon's foe Latipov.
Only Mongolian lightweight Tsendbaatar Erdenebat and India’s Amit – who defeated Filipino light flyweight Carlo Paalam in the semis – prevailed against their Uzbek opponents. Both won by 3-2 split decision.
Amit even scored a knockdown, which was merely ignored.
Per the AIBA website, Rahimov has pledged to “restore financial stability and transparency to AIBA.” – with a report from Beatrice Go in Jakarta/Rappler.com