Controversy hits the ring as Bulgarian cries foul

Controversy hits the ring as Bulgarian cries foul

India’s Sonia Chahal is declared winner against Bulgarian Stanimira Petrova (left) in the women's light flyweight 57 kg category of the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships in New Delhi on Monday.

The standard of judging has been a matter of concern for world boxing body AIBA. It resulted in yet another controversy on Monday when former champion Stanimira Petrova of Bulgaria accused judges of “corruption” following her defeat to Indian youngster Sonia Chahal in the 57 kg category of the women's World Championship here.

The verdict prompted a strong reaction from Petrova’s coach, Peter Lesov. Lesov, the 1980 Olympic champion in men’s flyweight, threw bottles on the floor in anger and made gestures at the crowd, which was chanting “India, India”. Petrova, a 2014 bantamweight (54kg) gold medallist, was livid.

“It is corruption by the judges. It is not a fair result,” Petrova fumed before storming off.
The 27-year-old went down in a split 2-3 verdict to the 21-year-old Indian in the pre-quarterfinals.

AIBA was swift in taking action. It removed the accreditation of coach Lesov and called his behaviour “unacceptable.” The matter would now be forwarded to the disciplinary committee.

“The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has decided to remove the accreditation, and therefore the right to be in the corner, from the coach of the Bulgarian delegation Petar Yosifov Lesov due to his unacceptable behaviour,” AIBA said in a statement.

“The International Boxing Association does not tolerate, in any circumstances, such behaviours against the AIBA values and AIBA Code of Conduct, especially being a coach.”

“The incident will be forwarded to the Disciplinary Commission for further review.”

The judging and refereeing in boxing have regularly invited controversy. During the recent Asian Games, AIBA had to cancel the accreditation of two North Korean coaches after they refused to leave the ring in protest after their player lost during the women’s flyweight final.

IOC, too, has warned AIBA to improve the quality of judging. It has been kept as one of the criteria for AIBA if it wishes to remain in the Olympic fold. AIBA recently elaborated on the expansive measures it has taken to improve the officiating standards and blamed the “badly inherited refereeing system”. It would be adding the protest system from the start of next year.