Bulgarian boxer calls judges corrupt after loss

Former gold-medallist Stanimira Petrova (57kg) lost her pre-quarterfinal to India’s Sonia Chahal in a split 2-3 verdict.

Stanimira Petrova (right) of Bulgaria in action against India’s Sonia in the womens feather (57kg) category at the AIBA Womens World boxing Championships.   -  SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

A judging controversy hit the ongoing women's World boxing hampionship in New Delhi when former gold-medallist Stanimira Petrova (57kg) accused the judges of “corruption” after losing her pre-quarterfinal to India’s Sonia Chahal.

The 27-year-old Bulgarian, who was the 2014 bantamweight (54kg) World champion, lost by a split 2-3 verdict against local favourite Sonia.

Petrova pointed a finger at the officials and her coach Petar Lesov - a former Olympic champion - threw a bottle inside the ring after the bout to protest the result.

Read: As it happened - Sonia beats Stanimira

“It is corruption by the judges. It is not a fair result,” Petrova told reporters after her bout.

Petrova's coach, Lesov, has been barred from ringside for the remainder of the tournament, which concludes on November 24.

“Regarding the incident at the conclusion of the bout number 177 between Stanimira Petrova and Sonia, the AIBA Technical Delegate of the event will review the situation,” the AIBA said in a statement.

“The AIBA has decided to remove the accreditation, and therefore the right to be in the corner, from the coach of the Bulgarian delegation Petar Yosifov Lesov due to his unacceptable behavior...,” the world body said in a statement.

Lesov, who won the flyweight gold medal at the 1980 Olympics, has been a coach for nearly three decades.

“The International Boxing Association does not tolerate, in any circumstances, such behavior against the AIBA values and AIBA Code of Conduct, especially being a coach.

“The incident will be forwarded to the Disciplinary Commission for further review,” it added.

Also read: Boxers revel on grand stage of World Championships

Judging at boxing events has been a major concern for AIBA, which had even been issued a warning by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the issue.

In fact, the IOC has made 'improving the quality of judging' one of the goals for AIBA to retain boxing’s Olympic status heading into the 2020 Tokyo Games.

At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Irish star Michael Conlan’s expletive-laden takedown of the judging standards after a controversial semifinal loss became a catalyst for the then AIBA administration to launch an inquiry and admit lapses.