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  • On the Scene in Chicago: AIBA Championships Complaint Free


    11/04/07

    Raushee Warren of the U.S. (L) and Somjit Jongjohor of Thailand in their 51kg division final. (Getty Images)  
    (ATR) Open and transparent scoring and judging reforms appear to have led to the first boxing world championships in years with zero complaints or protests.

    Competition, which wrapped up Saturday in Chicago is the first to held since new rules have been put into effect for events sanctioned by international boxing federation AIBA.

    Under the changes, scores are shown to the public as the match progresses and referees were selected only minutes before a bout.

    AIBA President C.K. Wu told Around the Rings that this was the world championships he had hoped to have.

    “Boxers will win or lose inside the ring, not outside. That is the most important message. That at the end of the day AIBA is clean, no more cheating”.

    Wu took over the federation one year ago, promising to reform the sport in the face of demands from the IOC, which suspended payments of TV rights fees due boxing from the Athens Olympics.

    In the Chicago championships, two referees were suspended due to “incompetence” Wu said.

    Wu said that every day he told the referees and officials that if they are sent home it will be for life and they must live with that and stressed their honor is on the line everyday.

    Such expectations were not limited to the referees.

    Three boxers and one team official were caught shoplifting and Wu immediately banned them for life.

    There were no complaints in any aspect of the organization.

    His “number one concern”
    The open scoring system at work. (ATR)  
    before the championships was athletes being able to obtain visas. He said the U.S. Embassy acted swiftly to grant visas to everyone and their efficiency “impressed” Wu.

    In a written statement after competition Wu said “the manner in which Chicago has been able to successfully host this tournament, in the limited time span, is nothing short of exceptional. This tournament will go down as the greatest world championships in the history of AIBA.
    Boxers appeared to be pleased with the new scoring system.

    Englishman Frankie Gavin who won the 60kg division said the open system was “better because it’s hard to cheat someone” adding “when you know you're up you feel good and gives you confidence”.

    Wu says the reforms have broadened the number of countries sending boxers to the final rounds of the tournament: 38 countries qualified for the semifinals in Chicago. Wu said in the past far fewer would qualify as a result of a judging and scoring system that could be manipulated.

    Eight Russians won medals, including gold in the 54kg, 57kg, and 75kg weight divisions, the biggest haul of any nation. 19 nations in total won medals.

    Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and IOC President Jacques Rogge at the finals of the World Championships. (Getty Images)
    More than 5,000 people watched the final and 6,000 attended the two semifinal sessions and 3,500 people on average watched preliminary bouts. A total of 41,000 spectators attended the competition that ran from October 23 to November 3 at the University of Illinois Chicago Pavilion.

    The world championships attracted high profile guests, such as IOC President Jacques Rogge and former world champion Evander Holyfield.

    Nearly 600 athletes from 120 countries came to Chicago, with 1,500 volunteers helping to make the even run smoothly.

    The next world championships take place in 2009 in Milan.

    With reporting from Chicago by Ed Hula III.

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