Sports

Contentious decision mars start 
of boxing

It didn't take long - Olympic boxing threw up its first contentious decision on the opening day of competition in Rio yesterday morning (Singapore time) when judges awarded a bout to a Brazilian boxer.

Light-heavyweight Michel Borges had most in the 9,000-seater arena firmly on his side from the moment he stepped into the ring, and the judges made him the winner on unanimous points, to roars of approval and dancing in the stands.

But Cameroon's Hassan Ndam Njikam - one of three professional boxers competing in the Olympics for the first time in its long history - wagged his finger in the air and shook his head in disbelief and was later seen remonstrating with boxing officials.

As part of moves to boost its popularity, especially in the United States, Olympic boxing has allowed in the pros, dropped headguards for men and ditched the punch-counting method to decide fights.

But, if the AIBA, the governing body, hoped it would result in fewer controversies, it may have to think again.

Njikam, 32, said that he felt he won at least two of the rounds and some observers agreed.

"I told them that I came from far away for this competition and I am professional," he said, when asked what he had been saying animatedly to boxing officials just outside the venue, as his family looked on.

"I took too much time to enter the fight in the first round, because I wanted to know what he was going to do.

"But the second and third rounds, I put on the pressure and I hit him with more punches than he hit me with, so I'm very unhappy with the decision - but this is boxing." - AFP.

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