Boxing: "Is one of the judges Italian", furious coach asks
LONDON (Reuters) - After Olympic champion Roberto Cammarelle beat Mohammed Arjaoui by the tightest of margins on Monday, the Moroccan's coach wanted to know one thing: was one of the judges Italian?
Defeated fighters and coaches have groaned all week about the scoring in tight contests and the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has already sent two officials home and suspended another for wrongdoing.
Cammarelle, fighting well below par, gave Arjaoui a chance of winning his country's first medal of the Games and while he probably did just edge it as the judges awarded him a 12-11 win, Abdelhak Achik disagreed.
"The judges always get it wrong and we never win. As soon as the fight starts, the judges are against us and they are always against the Arabs," the coach, who flung his fighter's towel to the ground in disgust when the result was announced, told reporters through a translator.
"Only two Africans have qualified for the quarter-finals. It's a bad advertisement. Is one of the judges Italian?"
Asked about the Moroccan's charges of a bias against Arab fighters, a spokesman for AIBA told Reuters that such comment did not merit a response.
AIBA also rejected a protest from the Moroccans before even sending it for review.
There was no doubting the result of the fight two bouts later when to the delight of a home crowd who waited patiently until close to midnight, Anthony Joshua guaranteed Britain another medal by reaching the semi-finals.
The big Londoner did it in style too, knocking China's Zhang Zhilei flat on his back in the second round with a whopping right hand that brought the packed house to their feet.
"That medal represents a journey, a lot of hard work, but it hasn't stopped here," the world championship silver medalist told reporters after signing autographs on his way out of the arena.
"It is going to get tougher and I'm going to have to keep my heads on my shoulders and try to change the color of that medal. I am going to walk away from these Olympics a new man."
It gets tougher in the form of third seeded Kazak Ivan Dychko who eased past Simon Kean of Canada 20-6.
Earlier Azerbaijani world number one Magomedrasul Medzhidov bashed his way out of a hole with a big third round against Russian Magomed Omarov in a contest light on tricky footwork but packing plenty of power.
"I knew it was going to be tough but we have a saying in boxing - death or glory," Medzhidov, who next faces Italy's Cammarelle, told reporters.
(Additional reporting by John Mehaffey; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)
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