A French super heavyweight boxer sat on the apron of the Olympic ring in protest for about an hour after he was disqualified from his quarterfinal fight due to an intentional header.
Mourad Aliev reacted with outrage when referee Andy Mustacchio disqualified him with four seconds left in the second round on Sunday. The referee determined that Aliev had intentionally used his head to collide with British opponent Frazer Clarke, who had major cuts near both eyes.
After the verdict was announced, Aliev sat on the mat just outside the ropes and on the steps leading to the arena floor. He stood there motionless, and the French team officials came over to talk to him and brought him water.
“This was my way of showing that the decision was so unfair,” Aliev said through a translator. “I wanted to fight against all that injustice, and honestly today, my colleagues also had unfair results. I trained my whole life for this, and I came here, and due to a referee’s decision, I lost. It’s over.”
After more than 30 minutes, the boxing officials came out and spoke with Aliev and the French team. Aliev put down the apron and they all entered the Kokugikan Arena.
About 15 minutes later, Aliev returned to the arena and resumed his protest in the same spot for about 15 more minutes. He was finally gone for good, but not before ripping apart the referee and oversight of the temporary Boxing Task Force that runs the Tokyo tournament.
“He would have won, but it was already written that he was disqualified,” Aliev said. “I prepared my whole life for this, so getting angry about this result is natural.”
Aliev and Clarke were involved in a close fight throughout their two rounds, and Aliev seemed to lean into his punches with zeal. Clarke, who took a medal with the victory, thought the decision was fair.
“I felt like there were a couple of heads going in there,” Clarke said. “Whether it was intentional or not, that is not for me to say. … I told (Aliev after) to calm down. You are not thinking with your head. You are thinking with your heart. I know it’s difficult, but the best thing is to go back to the locker room ”.
Aliev protested vocally and emphatically immediately after the fight, yelling at the nearly empty arena, “Everyone knows I won!” Aliev claimed that the referee had not warned him about his aggressive head fight prior to his disqualification, although some front-row observers thought so.
Aliev rejected Clarke’s attempts to calm him down in the ring. Aliev won the first round on three of the five-judge scorecards in what was a close fight.
Aliev’s protest did not interrupt the tournament as his fight with Clarke was the final fight of the afternoon session, which meant that the next fight was not scheduled for more than three hours.
France won six boxing medals in Rio de Janeiro, but their talented team has come up short in some close fights in Tokyo.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism