India rage over ‘cheated’ fighters

AGONY OF DEFEAT: Manoj Kumar of India is greeted by his corner after facing Thomas Stalker of Great Britain in their round of 16 Light-Welterweight match at the ExCel Arena in London. Stalker was awarded a 20-16 points decision. — AFP photo

INDIA light-welterweight Manoj Kumar claimed scoring at the Olympic boxing tournament is “cheating” boxers like himself after his points defeat to Great Britain’s Thomas Stalker.

Kumar felt the fight was closer than the 20-16 points score which left No 3 seed Stalker in a quarter-final bout with Mongolian Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg.

The Indian boxing team were left angry by a decision late Friday night by the competition’s committee – the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) – to uphold an appeal and reinstate American welterweight Errol Spence at the expense of India’s Krishan Vikas.

Kumar also felt aggrieved at the scoring of the first two rounds in favour of Stalker 7-4, 9-4 before the host nation’s boxer ran out a 20-16 victor in front of a raucous 10,000 crowd at the ExCeL

He said: “It doesn’t look fair because he was going in one direction and the scores 7-4 and 9-4 to him don’t justify that.

“It doesn’t look like an Olympic Games but more like a district competition because if it’s Great Britain in the ring it doesn’t matter who’s against them.

“It’s like a district competition where there’s lots of cheating, cheating, cheating.”

Stalker, 28, dismissed the controversy but admits he will have to box better if he is to emulate the gold medal he won at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

He said: “I don’t deal with the scoring – I just get in there and fight. In amateur boxing it happens all the time where you think you have won more points but it’s up to the judges.

“I didn’t box too good in parts of it and the last round wasn’t too good. I need work more like I did in the first and second rounds in the quarter-final.

“I promise to do better in my next fight and box better than that. If I want to win the gold medal I will have to do better.”

Australian light-welterweight Jeffrey Horn was a convincing 17-11 winner over Tunisian Abderrazak Houya and feels he can end his country’s wait for a boxing gold medal.

“I can go all the way. I try not to let it bother me and I think I perform better under pressure,” said the Australian.  — AFP

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