After covering a big obvious bout from the history of controversies involving an Asian fighter last time in this series we get to look at a lesser known controversy and one that, rather oddly, ended with the right guy winning, albeit on review. Given the bout needed an official review, and had the original result over-turned, that kinda shows just how erroneous the original decision was, and just how poor the judging for the bout turned out to be.
So join us again as we take a look at another Controversial Clash!
Petchsuriya Singwancha (15-10, 8) Vs Kerry Hope (22-7, 2)
The Hong Kong boxing scene certainly isn't a well established one, and it certainly wasn't much of a boxing scene in 2015, with Rex Tso being the countries only notable boxer. With Tso being the only fighter of note DEF Promotions had to bring in international fighters to fill up cards and typically this mean bringing in lower tied fighters from through out the Asia-Pacific region. On August 29th 2015 they had a card headlined by Tso taking on Brad Hore. On the same shower was your usual mix of regional journeyman, novices, and professional losers, though we'll admit Rey Megrino is someone who is much better than his record.
Aside from the Tso bout only one other bout stood out. That was the 12 round regional title clash between Petchsuriya Singwancha, of Thailand, and Australian based Welshman Kerry Hope.
The Thai had been in 25 fights prior to this one, and had done little of note with his career. He lost his first 4, and 5 of his first 6, but did manage a couple of low key wins over the likes of Xingxin Yang and Ryosuke Maruki, with the win over Maruki netting the Thai the WBC Youth Light Middleweight title. Interesting Petchsuriya lost a rematch to Maruki and had also lost to the likes of Koki Tyson and Dennis Hogan with 9 of his 10 losses coming by stoppage.
Kerry Hope on the other hand had originally made his name as a talented but light punching fighter on the British scene. He was a win some, lose some, type but a skilled fighter who's biggest issue was a lack of power. Despite not being a banger he had proven to be a potential banana skin, and had scored a big upset in 2012 when he beat Gregorz Proksa to claim the European title. In 2015 he he left the British scene and began fighting in Australia, after two bouts there, both wins, he then took on Petchsuriya,
The bout, for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Middleweight title, had issues before the first bell with the Thai missing the Middleweight limit. By 6 lbs. This wasn't a little over the weight but he was closer to hitting the limit for the weight class above than hitting the one for the division he was supposed to be fighting in.
From the opening seconds the taller, bigger looking Hope found the range for his jab and although there wasn't much on the shot it was landing regularly and preventing Petchsuriya from letting much go himself. The clean punching from, Hope continued to be the clear factor in the bout and he looked several levels better than the diminutive Thai, who spent much of the fight doing little, allowing Hope to fight at his pace and range.
For 12 rounds Hope fought a controlled fight. Petchsuriya managed to have some moments, though they were few and far between, and it seemed like a very, very clear decision for the Welshman. He seemed to out land the Thai in pretty much every round, Petchsuriya seemed to be content to to survive, look for counters and bide his time, waiting for a mistake that never really came.
Some how the judges disagreed with what every one else saw. Rather than a comfortable win for Hope the bout was ruled a draw. There was a card of 117-111 to Hope, 115-113 to Petchsuriya and a 114-114 card, resulting in a draw.
The decision was scandalous. There was no way to have had the bout even, never mind finding 7 rounds to give Petchsuriya the win. The WBC then reviewed the bout, had new judges score the bout, and the new judges, along with original judge Jerrold Tomeldan, all scored it 117-111 to Hope.
The result was reversed on the review, with Hope clamining the WBC Asian Boxing Council Middleweight title and judges Visuth Yingaupagarn and Pongpan Rattanasutorn were then suspended and retrained.
Whether Visuth Yingaupagarn and Pongpan Rattanasutorn scored in favour of their fellow Thai due to bias or ineptitude wasn't clear, though both were back ringside judging bouts in April 2016, if not earlier. That was less thna 8 months after their terrible work here.
We continue looking at controversies by going to an incredibly obvious one, in fact the bout is one of the most famous robberies in the sports history and a bout that goes down as one of the biggest disgraces in amateur. Through this series we will look at some amateur bouts, but this is certainly the on that stands as being the worst.
Park Si Hun Vs Roy Jones Jr
We had to. The 1988 Olympic final at 156lbs is regarded as a disgusting robbery with American fighter Roy Jones Jr being robbed blind by the judges against Park Si Hun. Where many covering this bout begin the story at the 1988 Olympics, we really need to roll the clock back 4 years and look at what is essentially a prologue to the bout to fully set the scene.
At the 1984 Olympics, in Los Angeles, the South Korean team was an excellent one. They felt they had a number of gold medal contenders and were seen as one of the best teams there. In the end however it was the US who dominated the games, which didn't have the Soviet Union or Cuba attending. From the 12 divisions the US ended up winning 9 golds, a silver and a bronze. Korea on the other hand left with just 3 medals, a single gold, a silver and a bronze.
A number of those medals for the Americans came on the back of some questionable judging, with American fighters winning 36 of the 37 decisions they were involved in. As well as decisions favouring the locals a number of other decisions had gone against South Korean fighters, so much so South Korean officials pretty much accused one judge and referee of having a US bias.
Just 4 years after the LA games things went to Seoul, South Korea, and the US were again expecting big things from their team, especially with Cuba again boycotting. It was a chance to get revenge for all the issues South Korea felt had harmed them 4 years earlier.
Things didn't go their way to begin with though, and that was increasing the anger of the Koreans. They essentially forced official Keith Walker, who they had been angered by 1984, home in 1988 when he was involved in a bout involving Byun In Jung. They were also annoyed at Oh Kwang Soo losing a close decision to Michael Carbajal. They also had to wait almost 24 hours for a decision to be made regarding Anthony Hembrick, who showed up 12 minutes late for a bout with Ha Jong Ho.
One of the US' big hopes was Roy Jones Jr. An athletic freak who was just 19 years old but seen as a sensationally talented youngster. He had taken wins at a number of notable competitions, including the 1984 US National Jr Olympics, and the 1986 and 1987 National Golden Gloves. Outside of the US his success continued and he took a silver medal at the 1986 Goodwill games. He was one of their big hopes for a medal and cruised his way to the 156lb final, taking an opening round win before 3 straight 5-0 decisions.
Park Si Hun was the Korean hopeful at the weight and had come in to the Olympics as a genuine star. He had been a 2-time Asian Amateur Champion and had won a gold medal at the 1985 Boxing World Cup. To reach the Olympic final he had taken 3 clear and decisive wins, but had struggled in the quarter final against Vincenzo Nardiello, in what was regarded as a genuine controversy in it's self.
The bout was a highly anticipated one. It was a chance for local fans to see their local hero take a gold, or for the sensational American to take home the top honour. It was a chance for Korea to get one over on the national they felt had treat them badly in 1984. It was a chance for revenge.
Straight from the opening round the Korean fight looked classed, to slow, too ridged and was unable to time Jones' exceptional speed. The Korean struggled to land anything of note whilst Jones landed near enough at will. The domination of Jones grew round by round and in the end it seemed like he had done more than enough to take the decision. He had been the aggressor, he had landed significantly more punches, he had dominated and was surely about to get the gold medal.
Then he lost.
The judges some how found a way to give the bout to Hun, giving him a 3-2 split decision. A decision that simply couldn't be explained. A decision that defied belief. A decision that sent the crowd into immediate cheers, but left Hun looking confused and Jones in tears as he left the ring.
Soon after the bout the three judges who had given the bout to Hun were suspended, the result was seen as a dark point in amateur boxing, and despite the loss Roy Jones was given the Val Barker trophy by AIBA. It also lead to a change in the scoring system, using a flawed computer scoring system rather than the 20-point must system that had been in use.
In 1997 an investigation was completed. It found that the judges had been wined and dined by the organisers but that there was no evidence of any corruption regarding boxing at the Olympics.
The change in scoring sadly did little to clean up the sport, and caused numerous issues in it's self, but was a direct result of this bout.
After the bout Jones would turn professional, making his debut in 1989, and go on to be one of most talented fighters of his generation. He would have professional success from Middleweight to Heavyweight and will, eventually, be inducted into the hall of fame. As for Hun he retired from the sport, became a teacher, and then got back into the sport as a coach in the 2000's.
Through the history of boxing we've had thousands of controversies. Be it questionable score-cards, poor stoppages, rules enforced badly or any number of other things we have had controversial actions and dubious incidents plaguing the sport. As part of this series we look at some of these disputable decisions and contentious contests.
The format for this series will see us setting the scene for the bout, discussing the bout briefly and then discussing the controversy of the contest, and where applicable what happened afterwards, with potential fall outs. We also want to include footage of the bout where we can!
Hiroki Ioka (10-0, 6) vs Napa Kiatwanchai (6-0, 3) I
To begin this series we're looking at a bit of a forgotten controversy but it's actually the bout that inspired us to cover controversial fights in this manner. Especially given how blatant the controversy is and how forgotten it is now, more than 30 years later
In October 1987 Japenese teenager Hiroki Ioka had taken a decision over Thai fighter Mai Thomburifarm to become the first ever WBC Minimumweight champion. At the time Ioka was just 18 years old and fighting for the 9th time. He would make his first defense just 3 months later, whilst his mentor Eddie Townsend was incredibly ill, and later passed after Ioka's win. In June 1988 Ioka would fight for the first time following Townsends's death, taking on little known Thai challenger Napa Kiatwanchai.
Kiatwanchai had done little to earn a world title fight. He was 6-0, inexperienced and taking a huge step up in class. That however didn't phase him and he travelled to Japan with plenty of self belief.
The fight started perfectly for Ioka, who dropped his Thai foe mid way through the opening round to secure an early lead. Ioka built on that but Napa wasn't there to make up the numbers and the diminutive Thai fought his way back into the bout.
Through 11 rounds it wasn't the most exciting or dramatic of contests, but was hotly contested, incredibly competitive and compelling with the unknown Napa out doing all expectations to make things very competitive. Ioka, who was apparently advised to avoid southpaws, struggled to read the Thai's lefty stance despite being the much taller and longer fighter.
In round 12 however things changed and a tiring, swollen Ioka was slowing. The tempo had gotten to both, but particularly to Ioka. At one point in the final round the Japanese fighter took his gum shield out and even threw it to his own corner, getting himself a short break. The break didn't do him any favours and he was rocked badly just moments later. He looked out on his feet with about a minute to go. Napa couldn't finish him in a follow up and then the bell rang...about 32 seconds early. There was a sense of confusion.
Napa's team were celebrating, as if their man had stopped Ioka. Ioka's team looked confused and dejected. Their was a real air that the title was changing hands. Had the bout been stopped because of the damage to Ioka? Had the time keeper been confused by the gum shield situation? Or was there something else at play?
After a few moments an announcement came out that the bout was a draw and the referee raised the hands of both men.
Ioka had been bailed out from being stopped with the early finish and had retained his title with a fortunate draw.
The finish to the bout lead to protests in Thailand at the Japanese embassy in Thailand and WBC would go on to order a rematch between the two men. That rematch came in November 1988, with Napa narrowly beating Ioka, with a majority decision, to take the win, and the title. The two would then have one more bout, in June 1989, with Napa stopping his Japanese rival in 11 rounds to record his second successful defense.
Whilst this is certainly not the biggest controversy to ever hit the boxing world, it is still an interesting one, and one that rarely gets a mention. For those wanting bigger profile controversies in this series, don't worry, we have some big ones lined for the future but with this bout being the inspiration for the series, it made sense to start here!
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features