Ali Mazaheri of Iran carried his country's flag in the opening ceremony. Today, his Olympic journey ended with an officiating travesty. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
The heavyweights have completed their opening round of 16 in London, and it's not without controversy. We saw the order of fights jumbled, an appalling disqualification, and a forfeit in this four-fight (well, three) session.
Teymur Mammadov (Azerbaijan) def. Jai Tapu Opetaia (Australia), 12-11: Damn! Not a bad score or anything, in fact it was quite fine. But we very nearly had a momentous upset here, as Mammadov is one of the favorites in the division, and the Aussie is a teenager no one was giving any real shot. To say the kid gave a good accounting would be an understatement. So close. Hats off to him.
Jose Larduet (Cuba) vs Ali Mazaheri (Iran) via DQ-2: And right back to the shoddy officiating. This was almost as ridiculous as the Azerbaijan-Japan disgrace in the bantamweight session. Larduet was docked in round one, then in round two, Mazaheri couldn't do anything without being warned, and on the third warning, he was disqualified. It was absolutely absurd, and these two shoddy, shady happenings this afternoon are exactly why Olympic boxing has a bad reputation. For four days, we got by without much happening. Now we've got a disaster this afternoon. I sort of warned about this the other day, but somehow it's still surprising that things like this just happen. To Mazaheri's credit -- and this will surely get him in trouble with AIBA -- he refused to stand by the referee for the official decision at first. After waiting a moment, he went over and shook the hands of the Cuban corner. Then he left to cheers, ignoring the referee and the official announcement. Good for him. Larduet, for his part, looked more confused than anything. He left the ring quietly and didn't appear any happier with what happened than anyone else.
Clemente Russo (Italy) def. Tumba Silva (Angola) via walkover: Silva didn't show up to the weigh-in, so Russo moves on by forfeit. Russo will face Larduet, as the fights also ran out of scheduled order.
Siarhei Karneyeu (Belarus) def. Julio Castillo (Ecuador), 21-12: This was a pretty good fight, and the Ecuadorian showed promise for the future, and Karneyeu was quite good. However, the quality here is lost to the controversy before. It's a shame, but it's reality.
Heavyweight (201 lbs/91kg)
Artur Beterbiev (Russia) vs Oleksandr Usyk (Ukraine)
Tervel Pulev (Bulgaria) vs Yamil Peralta Jara (Argentina)
Teymur Mammadov (Azerbaijan) vs Siarhei Karneyeu (Belarus)
Jose Larduet (Cuba) vs Clemente Russo (Italy)