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Olympic Boxing 2012: Scoring Controversies Low So Far, But Not Gone

Did Josh Taylor get some help from a rowdy crowd against Brazil's Robson Conceicao? (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Did Josh Taylor get some help from a rowdy crowd against Brazil's Robson Conceicao? (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Brazilian lightweight Robson Conceicao dropped a first round match against Great Britain's Josh Taylor yesterday in London, losing on points, 13-9. The scoring was questioned on CNBC in the United States by commentators Teddy Atlas and Bob Papa, and Conceicao himself feels he was robbed by judges biased for the home fighter:

"They (the judges) were very malicious. It's not fair because I think the judges favoured him because of the crowd and that shouldn't happen in a competition like this," Conceicao told reporters.

"It hurts a lot, I was fighting really well, making the points and the referees didn't give it. I'm sad."

... "It will be very difficult," Conceicao said when asked if it would be hard to beat a British boxer in London.

Taylor vs Conceicao hasn't been the only controversial fight over the first two days of Olympic boxing action, but thus far, there haven't been many questionable decisions. Given that it's the opening round, many bouts feature competitors simply outclassed by their opposition.

London 2012 Olympic Boxing Results
Bantamweight: Session 1 / Session 2
Lightweight: Session 1 / Session 2
Welterweight: Session 1 / Session 2
Middleweight: Session 1 / Session 2

Beyond Taylor-Conceicao, here are a couple of other fights that have kicked up at least a little dust:

  • Welterweight Adam Nolan of Ireland beat Ecuador's Carlos Sanchez, 14-8. Nolan winning wasn't really an issue, bit many were perplexed as to how he possibly outpointed Sanchez 3-2 in the third and final round, when Sanchez made a serious charge.
  • Lightweight Gani Zhailauov of Kazakhstan won on a countback after drawing 12-12 with Thailand's Saylom Ardee. Most viewers I spoke with during the fight felt Ardee deserved the win, but there wasn't outrage.
  • Middleweight Jesse Ross of Australia got a tough break, losing to Algeria's Abdelmalek Rahou on a 13-11 score. The difference was a 4-2 second round for Rahou, which was questionable.
  • Bantamweight Satoshi Shimizu of Japan couldn't even hide his own surprise (maybe even shock) when he got a 10-9 call over Isaac Dogboe of Ghana. Live crowd did not agree, and I didn't either.
  • Great Britain's Anthony Ogogo led the middleweight action on Saturday with a 13-6 win over Junior Castillo of the Dominican Republic. Once again, it wasn't so much the argument of a robbery, but trying to figure the 5-1 second round score for Ogogo is a bit difficult.

Realistically, that's not bad overall. There aren't particularly glaring cases of robbery, but the usual trouble understanding the Olympic style scoring, and the problem isn't really that we all have a problem understanding it, it's that the system is awful and simply doesn't work well.

And as much as I hate to say it, the only thing one can really expect is for the controversy to increase the further along we get, as we have more fights with two high-level fighters squaring off, making it legitimately tougher to score than most of the bouts thus far have been, as well as raising the stakes, and the interest among the public. London 2012 has had a good start for boxing. But unless this is a fairytale revival of the amateur game at the Olympics, it feels like we're waiting for outrage as much as waiting for a star to be made.

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