AIBA Women’s World Championship: Former world champion accuses judges of ‘corruption’
India’s Sonia Chahal beat former gold-medallist Stanimira Petrova to enter the quarter-finals of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship on Monday. But the 21-year-old farmer’s daughter’s victory took a controversial turn after the Bulgarian accused the judges of “corruption” following her shocking defeat.
The 27-year-old, who won the gold at the 2014 edition of the tournament, went down in a split 2-3 verdict in the pre-quarters bout against the younger Indian opponent.
Petrova, a bantamweight (54kg) champion was furious after the decision and pointed fingers at the officials accusing the judges of fixing the result. Her coach Petar Lesov, Bulgaria’s Olympic champion then threw a water bottle inside the ring as a protest against the allegedly unfair result.
The incident was immediately reviewed by International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) technical committee, who banned from the ringside for the remainder of the tournament and also revoked his accreditation.
“The AIBA has decided to remove the accreditation, and therefore the right to be in the corner, from the coach of the Bulgarian delegation Petar Yosifov Lesov due to his unacceptable behavior…,” the world body was quoted as saying by NDTV in a statement.
“The International Boxing Association does not tolerate, in any circumstances, such behavior against the AIBA values and AIBA Code of Conduct, especially being a coach. The incident will be forwarded to the Disciplinary Commission for further review,” it added.
Petrova later told the reporters that “It is corruption by the judges. It is not a fair result.”
This is, however, not the first time judging has been controversial in the competition. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janerio, Irish boxer Michael Conlan had criticised the judging standards after a controversial semi-final defeat. It forced the AIBA administration to launch an inquiry into the judging issue.
The International Olympic Committee had also warned the AIBA to improve its quality of judges in order to keep its Olympic status.