Law and Order Is Urgently Needed In Olympic Boxing

As a long-time boxing fan, I am always excited to watch the best amateur boxers in the world compete at the Olympic games.  This Olympics, however, has been marked with nothing other than controversial decisions and incompetent judges and referees.  American Errol Spence was lucky enough to have his loss overturned upon appeal to the AIBA, the international sanctioning body of amateur boxing.  Japanese boxer Satoshi Shimizu was also fortunate enough to have his loss overturned.  Two other fighters, Belarus’ Siarhei Karneyeu and Cuba’s Jose Larduet do not seem to have been as lucky.  Both clearly won their bouts, both appealed the decisions to the AIBA, and both appeals were denied.  These kinds of decisions should not happen anywhere in sport, much less in the Olympics.

As a law student I am being trained in the law so that I can competently perform my job as an attorney.  Like all attorneys, I must pass the Bar Exam in order to practice law.  In a subjective sport such as boxing, where rules must be enforced and the correct scoring decisions made by the judges, perhaps a more rigorous training and testing process must be administered to stop these horrible decisions.  All olympic judges and referrees should have to pass rigorous examinations and ther performance constantly be monitored to make certain that their skills are kept sharp and their decisions just.

Just as judges do in our legal system, judges in boxing hold an enormous amount of power, single handedly being able to shape the future of a boxer’s career with each decision.  One wrong decision at the Olympic level can cost a boxer his career.  Such errors should be prevented at all costs.  Something must be done to save Olympic boxing.  Just as we accept nothing but properly administered law and order in our legal system, we must only accept the same from the referees and judges at the highest levels of sport.


  1. I completely agree with Louis about this issue. In any sport where there is going to be subjective judging there should be an ample amount of training and testing. I am not sure exactly what the current requirements are to become an Olympic judge for a boxing match, but based on the public outrage over the rulings in this years Olympics I can tell that these judges were not prepared. I think that it is tough for an athlete to be somewhat out of control of the outcome of their match. In many sports winning or losing relies on how an athlete has performed and there are referees in place simply to enforce certain rules; however, in the subjective sports the decision of winning or losing rests in part with the judges. If someone’s Olympic success relies on the decision of a judge I think we owe it to the athletes to make sure that those judges have been thoroughly trained and tested, and are the best at what they do.

  2. I agree with Gianna and Louis as well, however, people, including judges make quick decisions and are not always correct in hindsight when there is more time to review. That is exactly why we have an appeals process, and it seems like it is why the Olympics has an appeals process as well. A Judge in our legal system can make a discretionary call to allow evidence in, evidence that a jury relies on to convict a defendant, which ultimately takes away the defendants liberty. A Judge in the Olympics, similarly, makes a discretionary call that could change the fate of a Boxers life forever. This process is universal and it seems to universally be understood that an appeal process is essential in any type of discretionary judgement call type of arena. Maybe the Olympic Judges do need more training, but I would hope they would choose the best of the best or people with extreme knowledge in the sport.

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