Boxers says judges favoring China

Aug. 12, 2008, 5:11 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) A British boxer accused Olympic judges of favoring his Chinese opponent Tuesday, a few hours after the Ukrainian team lost its protest of a decision in its fighter's loss to another Chinese boxer.

British bantamweight Joe Murray left the ring incensed after his 17-7 opening-round loss to China's Gu Yu. Murray beat Gu at the world championships in Chicago last fall, but fell behind early and never caught up at Workers' Gymnasium.

"I thought it should have been a lot closer after the first round," said Murray, who trailed 4-0 after the first two minutes.

"I think the score was bad. I think they were giving him a score for anything, and I had to work to get all of my points. I knew going in that the only way I could win this fight is don't let him hit me."

British coach Terry Edwards echoed his fighter's complaints, calling the scores "absolutely stupid."

"The judges took it away from him," Edwards said of the early rounds, when the score deficit forced Murray to change his style. "I'm not saying he won, but when you're chasing the bout, you do things you're not comfortable with. ... I'm not grouching here. We lost fair and square, but you saw it for yourselves."

AIBA spokesman Richard Baker confirmed the Ukrainian team filed a protest over lightweight Oleksandr Klyuchko's 10-8 loss to Hu Qing on Monday night. The protest was reviewed and denied, Baker said.

"I thought the Chinese opponent was not very good," said Klyuchko, who beat Hu 26-13 at last year's world championships. "I'm very sad. I thought I would be the winner. I already beat him once before."

Judging controversy is as synonymous with amateur boxing as headgear. The sport's points-based punch scoring lends itself to wide interpretation, and Olympic history is full of loud protests over boxing results both before and after the sport switched to a computer scoring system in 1992 to make the results more transparent.

But the new complaints at the sport's biggest event could cast doubt on its progress over the last 18 months, when a slate of remarkable reforms in the international boxing association (AIBA) seemed to begin a cleanup of the sport.

Computer scoring was introduced at the Olympics four years after American Roy Jones Jr. lost the championship bout in Seoul to South Korea's Park Si-hun, a decision still considered one of the great travesties in Olympic history. Park even apologized to Jones, and one judge eventually acknowledged his decision was a mistake.