When it comes to elite sport, the harsh truth is that there can only be one winner. Except in boxing, where almost every fighter in every bout thinks they’ve won. It’s a tradition.
There was barely a fight in the gold medal rounds of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games where both athletes didn’t throw their hands into the air, high on the ecstasy of impending victory, when the final bell rang.
As a general rule, the charade must continue right up until the judges’ decision is revealed and a wrapped hand is held aloft. For the winner, the celebrations can start. Time to climb the ropes and salute the crowd.
For the loser, anything goes. This is the ‘Friendly Games’ but boxing has always been different. People that spend their life punching other people in the face don’t always greet defeat with the same diplomacy as a table tennis player, or a lawn bowler.
Boxing does lunatic incredibly well and even in the amateur ranks, the cannons can be rather loose and the reactions to a loss not fit for discussion at the dinner table.
When Australian Andrew Moloney took the flyweight gold in a unanimous points decision over Muhammad Waseem, the Pakistani was furious. He shook his head in disagreement before letting fly with a gold-medal spray of his own to waiting journalists.
“”F*@king crazy f&#k. He cheating. The referee, the judges they’re all cheating. Not happy with silver. Lying, f*#king cheating.” What could he possibly be getting at?
It wasn’t just the men, either. Northern Ireland’s Michaela Walsh couldn’t believe her ears when she lost the opening bout of the night to England’s Olympic champion, Nicola Adams. She screamed ‘No, No!” when the verdict was announced, before going on to say she was going to spray paint her silver medal gold, such was the injustice.
“In my heart I have got the gold medal. I do believe I was cheated but that’s boxing for you,” Walsh said. “I know I have got a silver around my neck but I want to spray-paint it gold, because I do believe that fight was mine.”
The previous day, Scotland’s Reece McFadden had set the bar fairly highly when he lost to cool and calm Moloney, who seems to have have had a hand in a few of the more outrageous moments of the boxing tournament.
McFadden simply said all of the officials were corrupt and the result was flat-out larceny, even if he qualified it by suggesting the robbery was on the minor end of the scale.
“That’s what happens in boxing – it’s corrupt. Everyone knows it is corrupt and I’ve been robbed quite a few times. That wasn’t a big robbery there but I still thought I did enough to win,” McFadden said.
It wasn’t all bad. Northern Ireland’s Joe Fitzpatrick took the radical step of suggesting he just wasn’t good enough on the night after a defeat to hometown hero, Scotland’s Charlie Flynn.
“My tactics were all wrong. I’ll get him again and I know for a fact that I’ll beat him. For a fact. He won the fight no problem but that wasn’t even me in that ring there. I’m well better than that and I don’t know what was wrong with me,” Fitzpatrick said.
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