AIBA benches top officials after Rio scandals

By Togorashi

By Ognian Georgiev

After numerous controversial decisions at Rio Olympics, the AIBA has apperently benched seven of their most established referees/judges. Mik Basi (Gbr), Kheira Sidi Yakoub (Alg), Michael Gallagher (Ire), Mariusz Gorny (Pol), Vladislav Malyshev (Rus), Gerardo Poggi (Arg) and Rakhymzhan Rysbayev (Kaz) were leading the clique that Fightnews dubbed The Magnificent Seven ( They are still in Rio, but they are not officiating. These 5-star R/J were appointed after many scandals at London Olympics 2012. The AIBA announced that after the huge criticism around the world they made a strong decision.

“The AIBA R&J Commission has reviewed all decisions and determined that less than a handful of the decisions were not at the level expected and consequently it has been decided in accordance with the AIBA R&J evaluation committee that the concerned referees and judges will no longer officiate at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” was the official statement of the organization.

AIBA didn’t announce the name of the R/Js, but in Wednesday’s bouts no one from The Magnificent Seven worked during the session which consisted of 11 fights. They also weren’t put into the R/J’s lists for today matches.

AIBA was asked to explain why The Magnificent Seven were surprisingly left out of the R/J’s list, but the organization didn’t reply to Fightnews request.

Some of the clique members participated in the worst decisions in Rio.

Mariusz Gorny was one of the scoring judges in Vladimir Nikitin’s win against world champion at 56 kg division Michael Conlan (Ire). He gave 29:28 for the Russian. After the fight, the Irish star raised his middle finger toward another member of The Magnificent Seven Kheira Sidi Yakoub, who was the referee of the bout.

Yakoub was one of the three scoring judges in the gold medal bout between Evgeny Tischenko (Rus) and Vassiliy Levit (Kaz), She and Michael Gallagher gave the fight 29:28 for the Russian who was booed after the final decision and during awards ceremony. Gerardo Poggi was the referee of the fight.

The official from Argentina was once again the third man in the ring for one more controversial bout Mihai Nistor (Rom) vs Hussein Iashiash (Jor). The fighter from Jordan heard twice the knockdown count by the referee and was in a standing knockdown in the third round. Poggi did everything to give time for Iashiash to recover after some heavy blows.

With the appointment of the Magnificent Seven at the end of 2012 they took over the education of upcoming international R/J. They gave instructions on how to score and officiate the bouts.

“I am very pleased that we have found seven R&Js with such great achievements and outstanding performances in AIBA competitions over the last five years,” said Ching-Kwo Wu when introducing The Magnificent Seven.

The Magnificent Seven were appointment on a full contract basis. They receive a monthly salary of $5000. The 5-stars referees received additional benefits. They were working around the world in WSB and APB fight nights. For each WSB they received additional $500 and for APB $1000 per boxing gala. During competitions these R/J had some other privileges like sleeping in a single room, while the other officials were accommodated in double rooms.


Ognian Georgiev is a Bulgarian sports journalist and author of the book “The White Prisoner: Galabin Boevski’s Secret Story”. You may find more about him on his blog:

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