Zambia’s Patrick Chinyemba (pictured left) is still shocked and in disbelief on the dishonesty of three judges who officiated his quarter-final flyweight bout against Spain’s Martin Molina on Wednesday, May 10.
Chinyemba was a sure bet for a medal but now he’s among the 99 African boxers from 28 countries entered for the World Championships returning home empty handed.
Two other African quarter finalists, Zambia’s Andrew Chilata and Ghana’s Mohammed Adamu also lost their bouts.
Chilata, the Africa lightweight champion, was beaten 5-0 by Cuba’s pro boxer Erislandy Alvarez while bantamweight Adamu also lost by a similar margin to Kazakhstan’s 2021 World Championshis silver medallist Makhmud Sabyrkhan.
While Chilata, a member of Exodus Boxing Club, accepted defeat in true sportsmanship spirit, he was not impressed on how the referee handled the fight.
“The referee was always favouring the Cuban, I didn’t like his officiating,” said Chilata, “That’s now gone, I’m now focusing on retaining my Africa title in Yaounde in June.”
Back to Chinyemba. The Africa flyweight champion dominated Molina throughout the three rounds, and as they waited for the winner to be announced he was 100% convinced he had defeated the Spaniard hands down.
Then came the surprise announcement: “The winner on a split decision is blue corner”
What a shocking defeat it was for the 21-year-old soldier with Zambia Defence Force.
“It was unbelievable, how could mentally stable judges be so unfair to an innocent hard working boxer like me, is it because I’m from Africa?,” he wondered as he slumped to the canvas and lay there for about five minutes.
“I suddenly felt my legs lose power, they couldn’t withstand the weight of my body, I had to crawl back to my corner, it was the saddest day in my boxing career.
“I won this fight 5-0, I feel heart-broken and that’s bringing me back to the drawing board on whether I should continue to fight again.
“I can’t still believe l lost the fight, no way because I’m convinced I was leading in all three rounds. But as a soldier I will not quit. I know my day will come.”
Chinyemba, a bronze medallist at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Burmingham, has appealed to the International Boxing Association (IBA) President Umar Kremlev to be firm with some judges who are tarnishing the image of IBA through dubious officiating, and said the booing from the crowd proved they were also shocked Molina won the fight.
“I want the IBA to take disciplinary measures on the malicious judges who handled my fight,” said Chinyemba.
“It’s so shameful, such judges don’t know the sacrifices we make to attend such tournaments and the pain we go through as boxers especially during training, some of them have never been boxers and dont know the pain of a punch. How can IBA claim to be helping Africa and it’s judges are frustrating black African boxers?”
This is how the judges scored the fight in Chinyemba’s daylight robbery without violence:
Judge 1: Steve Wade (Australia) 28-29
Judge 2: Ishang Meretnyyazov (Turkmenistan) 28-29
Judge 3: Atarbay Byambabayar (Mongolia) 28-29
Judge 4: Jakov Peterson (Estonia) 29-28
Judge 5: Makfouni Abdellatif (Morocco) 29-28.
With the three boxers out in the quarters, Africa has once again failed to win a single medal in Men’s World Boxing Championships though there’s an improvement on the overall performance compared to 2021 in Belgrade and 2019 in Russia. The last time Africa won a medal in Men’s World Championships was in 2017 through Cameroon’s super-heavyweight Arsene, Fokou Fosso.
Some countries such as Botswana, Ghana, Zambia, Gambia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Kenya and Uganda ended their victory drought in the World Championships with some winning more than once which is commendable.
In addition to Chinyemba being the most impressive African boxer, Zambia topped the continent with two boxers in the quarter-finals followed by Ghana pushing one to the last eight. Africa also had more boxers in pre-quarters – 18 – compared to the previous World Championships.
A total of 99 boxers from 28 African countries entered the 21st edition of Men’s World Championships, the biggest ever representation from Africa in the global event.
National federation leaders of the 28 countries in Tashkent and their henchmen must now ask themselves hard questions on their future participation in the World Championships.
How does it feel to return home without a single medal with 99 boxers on board? How do you account to your respective governments on the tax payers money spent to send your ill prepared teams to Tashkent? Is it a must you have take part in such a high profile tournament with inadequately prepared teams?
A lot needs to be done. You know that. Scratch your heads to identify your weak areas and make amends.
Looking at the quarter-finalists per continent, Asia led with 41 boxers in the last eight, Europe had 39, America 20, Africa 3 and Oceania one.
Wake up Africa, the sleeping giant.
Credit: NENEZ MEDIA SERVICES