By Peter Akinbo.
The Nigeria Boxing Federation has denied claims that the International Boxing Association cheated their fighter during the ongoing 2023 IBA Men’s World Boxing Championship in Uzbekistan, The PUNCH reports.
On Tuesday, Kukoyi Wahab was declared the winner against 2020 Olympian, Jean Caicedo from Ecuador before the ring announcer changed the results and announced Caicedo as the winner, after the referee had initially raised the arm of Wahab.
Some Nigerians believe that Wahab was cheated by the IBA due to the double results announced by the referee, but the NBF told our correspondent that it was a mistake on the part of the referee.
“We have only one directive in a boxing tournament, we have the seat of the supervisor and it is only the supervisor of the tournament that can declare anyone the winner,” Technical Assistant to the NBF, Babatunde Laguda, told The PUNCH.
“The supervisor was facing the referee when they wanted to announce the winner, and on his table were two bats; one for red and one for the blue corner and he picked up the bat for the winning side. The referee may not be looking at the announcer because he may not even understand his language,” he told The PUNCH.
Laguda then said two things may have happened, faulting those in the ring and not the officials or judges, for the error.
“In the case of what happened, I believe two things may have happened; athat Wahab, who is in the red corner, won but he has no right to the judgement, even the supervisor has no right to determine the winner; only the five judges can do that. So, the referee may have raised up the arm of Wahab before he saw that it was blue that the supervisor raised.
“The second thing I believe may have happened is that even at times, athletes may feel they have won and out of jubilation, he now forced the hand up, but I know the fault is from the ring, not on the side of the judges, supervisor or the announcer. The fault is between the referee or the boxer,” he added.
One of Nigeria’s two remaining medal prospects at the competition, Ige “Arewa” Ridwan lost to German Goekduman Devrim in the round of 32 in the light-welterweight bout by a split decision on Thursday.