The investigation into alleged boxing corruption at the Rio Olympics is to be applauded. Those found culpable must never be allowed near the sport again.
Having exposed state backed Russian cheating I have every confidence Richard McLaren and his team will root out the blight that has plagued boxing’s world governing body AIBA for years.
What it can’t do, of course, is right the wrongs of history and put medals around the necks of all those cheated down the years.
I know how that feels. It happened to me in the semi-finals of the European Junior Championships in Rimini 41 years ago, my last competition before the Olympics.
I clearly won the fight yet the judges gave the decision to Russian World Champion Yuriy Gladyshev, who, surprise surprise, went on to win the gold.
I was captain of the Irish boxing team in Moscow and predicted to medal. I had a bye first up then stopped Tanzania’s Issack Mabushi.
I was drawn against Winfred Kabunda of Zambia in the next round, boxed his ears off and didn’t get it.
I remember the camera panned to the Irish team. You could clearly see Sean Doyle, Martin Brearton and Hughie Russell, who would go on to win Ireland’s only boxing medal, mouthing “Holy f***”.
I can’t tell you how devastating that was. I felt completely hollowed out, cheated out of the chance to crown my amateur career on the biggest stage of all.
I was fortunate in the sense that I knew my forte was over 15 rounds in the pro game. I would go on to win the WBA featherweight title against Eusebio Pedroza on the night of my life.
But for many of these guys the amateurs is it. There are no second chances. The window is so narrow and to lose unjustly is the worst feeling on earth.
Just as there was no way back for me, so there should be none for those exposed in McLaren’s investigation.
If you want to stop it coming back you have to send out a message and implement measures to ensure the judging process can never again fall victim to malfeasance.
AIBA had no option but to invite McLaren to conduct his inquiry. The Olympics was the jewel in their crown. Once the IOC stepped in to remove the qualification process from AIBA’s jurisdiction, they had to act.
Now, at last, the world will get to know the truth and hopefully leave Olympic boxing in a far better place.
- Follow Barry on Twitter at @ClonesCyclone @McGuigans_Gym @CyclonePromo
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