Originally created 08/28/99

Boxing authority suspends four judges



HOUSTON -- Four of the five judges who worked a disputed match in the World Amateur Boxing Championships were suspended Friday by the executive committee of the International Amateur Boxing Association.

AIBA general secretary Loring Baker said he was outraged at the diversity of scoring by the judges and vowed a complete investigation into the entire scoring system of amateur boxing.

"You hear the word corruption ... creeping in and this is a policy that it's time to get tough with officials," Baker said. "This is the toughest position I know of in my 50 years in boxing."

Judges awarded welterweight Timour Gaidalov of Russia the gold medal Thursday night by a 5-3 margin over Juan Hernandez of Cuba, setting off an angry protest and demonstration by the Cubans.

Cuban heavyweight champion Felix Savon later refused to enter the ring for his fight and the title was awarded to Michael Bennett of Chicago.

After reviewing the Cuban protest, AIBA reversed the decision and awarded the gold medal to Hernandez.

The four officials were suspended pending a decision of AIBA's 34-member executive committee next spring. Cases of this type carry a minimum period of four years to life.

AIBA also suspended Cuban head coach Alcides Sagarra and Jose Barrientos, chief of the Cuban delegation pending a meeting of the executive committee. The officials were suspended for their demonstration following the disputes fight.

The suspended judges are from Bulgaria, Estonia, Mongolia and Argentina. Their names were not immediately available.

AIBA president Anwar Chowdhry of Pakistan pledged in a statement to continue the investigation. He said scoring papers of each bout in the World Championships would be reviewed and serious irregularities in judging would be dealt with.

Chowdhry said AIBA will restructure the duties of its RefereeJudges Commission.

"The decision obviously was a bad one and one that I think was proper to rectify," Baker said of the Hernandez-Gaidalov fight.

Baker said the Russian delegation filed a complaint, questioning the legality of the reversal.