Boos for the judges as Joyce is de­nied his golden fi­nale

Split de­ci­sion robs GB of su­per-heavy box­ing ti­tle Yoka is given one round de­spite hardly punch­ing

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - NEWS - By Daniel Schofield in Rio de Janeiro

Even Ryan Lochte would be hard pressed to in­vent a mug­ging like the one that took place at the Rio­cen­tro Pav­il­lion 6, where Bri­tish su­per-heavy­weight Joe Joyce was de­nied the hon­our of win­ning Bri­tain’s last gold medal of the Rio Olympics by a split-de­ci­sion de­feat to Tony Yoka of France.

Joyce was the busier, more ag­gres­sive boxer through­out. Not only did he land more shots, but he landed the big­ger ones, with one left up­per­cut rock­ing Yoka, the cur­rent world cham­pion. The French­man, by con­trast, spent the vast ma­jor­ity of the fight cov­er­ing up un­der a var­ied bar­rage of Joyce shots to head and body. Yoka did con­nect with his left jab, but with­out ever seem­ing to do any sig­nif­i­cant dam­age, and the fi­nal de­ci­sion was greeted by a cho­rus of boos.

“I felt I won the rounds, I dom­i­nated enough,” Joyce said. “I need to watch it back and get a clearer opin­ion, but I thought I did enough to win the gold medal. I re­ally thought I’d be com­ing back to talk to you guys over the moon.

“I thought I was work­ing him to the body, work­ing him to his head, pen­e­trat­ing his guard. I mean, maybe to­wards the end of the rounds he nicked a few shots, but the pre­dom­i­nant work was done by me.

“It was the last bout of the night ... and I thought that gold was mine ... through­out the bout, I was pep­per­ing him with shots, go­ing through his guard. It was just the odd shot that he nicked it.”

Two judges – Cle­mente Car­rillo of Ecuador and Emre Ay­din of Turkey – awarded the fight to Yoka with Hun­gary’s Roland Juhasz giv­ing the de­ci­sion Joyce’s way. As­ton­ish­ingly, Ay­din did not award Joyce a sin­gle round de­spite Yoka – who was simi- Jus­tice de­nied: Joe Joyce launches an­other at­tack on Tony Yoka larly lucky to get a semi-fi­nal points de­ci­sion against the Croat Filip Hr­govic – barely throw­ing a punch in the third. “What does that say?” asked Joyce, a fine arts grad­u­ate who learnt his trade at south Lon­don’s Earls­field Am­a­teur Box­ing Club.

It may seem churl­ish to be­moan Bri­tain fail­ing to win a 28th gold medal – Joyce’s sil­ver took the over­all tally in Rio to 67 and was the 700th medal since lottery fund­ing was in­tro­duced for elite sport – yet in­jus­tice al­ways ran­kles.

The Bri­tish camp are known to have been in­fu­ri­ated by the de­ci­sion while An­thony Joshua, su­per­heavy­weight cham­pion at Lon­don 2012, said there was no doubt that Joyce de­served to win. “I have never seen a light­weight, let alone a heavy­weight, throw so many punches in a fight be­fore,” Joshua said. “Joe was ag­gres­sive, mak­ing the fight. The power that he pos­sesses, there is no way that you can block those shots. He is pen­e­trat­ing gloves, pen­e­trat­ing the body. For me, he’s Olympic cham­pion.”

It is the sec­ond such con­tro­ver­sial de­feat that Joyce has suf­fered to Yoka; he lost on points at last year’s World Cham­pi­onship de­spite re­peat­edly rock­ing the French­man. But the dif­fer­ence this time, be­tween gold and sil­ver, will make a big dif­fer­ence to Joyce’s ca­reer if he makes the tran­si­tion to the pro­fes­sional ranks as ex­pected.

“What An­thony said is a bit of con­so­la­tion, but I’d pre­fer to the Olympic cham­pion,” Joyce said. “It makes me feel good to be the last Bri­tish medal­list [of the Games]. I look for­ward to the next one – though I’ll prob­a­bly just be watch­ing. I’d love to be there in Tokyo to see it.”

It speaks vol­umes about the cal­i­bre of of­fi­ci­at­ing in Rio that this was far from the worst de­ci­sion here. Both the Cana­dian and Ir­ish box­ing unions have pub­licly ques­tioned the in­tegrity of the judg­ing and this will fur­ther in­crease the scru­tiny of the pro­bity of the In­ter­na­tional Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, that has long been dogged by claims of cor­rup­tion.

It has sent home sev­eral judges and ref­er­ees while Karim Bouzidi, its most se­nior ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, was “re­as­signed”.

Ear­lier, Cla­ressa Shields, of the US, had lit­tle need for judges as she gave ar­guably the stand-out dis­play of any of the fi­nals to re­tain her mid­dleweight ti­tle against Nouchka Fon­tijn of Hol­land.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.