Russian Protest Prompts Suspension of Officials

NEW YORK -- A protest and threat by the Russian Boxing Federation led to the suspension of four officials from the finals of the Goodwill Games.

Arthur Tunstall of Australia, technical delegate to the competition from AIBA, the International Amateur Boxing Association, said Friday that the Russians did not protest specific bouts but were generally unhappy with judging in bouts involving their boxers.

Suspended were referee-judges Macario Sosa of Guatemala and Alfredo Toledo of Cuba, referee Per-Olof Larsson of Sweden and judge Dieter Mica of Germany.

"They were not happy and said they might take their boys home,'' Tunstall said of the Russians, who had two finalists in Friday night's six bouts and two boxers in Saturday night's six finals.

AIBA said it took the action after evaluating the Russian protest "that judgments made by the officials were biased and led to the elimination of their boxers.''

The Russians came in from the cold on Saturday long enough to lose two gold medal bouts and take some shots at U.S. television for keeping fighters up too late.

"AIBA can see clearly from this tournament that refereeing is on a poor level, and disqualifying the referees is not the only remedy," Anatoly Bykov, president of the Russian Boxing Federation, said Saturday.

Bykov said he wanted to make clear that "first the Russian delegation filed a protest about all referees in this tournament. We did not protest only these four. Second, we have a problem with the time the tournament is held." Bykov said allowing television to dictate a 10:30 p.m. start time on Saturday was wrong.

"I don't agree with this time. Athletes should sleep at this time," he said.