London: Stung by Vikas Krishan's controversial ouster from the Olympics, the Indian boxing team on Saturday filed a protest of its own against the International Boxing Association's decision to overturn his pre-quarterfinal win against American Errol Spence. The appeal was filed after an emergency meeting of the team with Chef-de-Mission and Indian Boxing Federation secretary general P.K. Muralidharan Raja.
In a stunning turn of events, Vikas (69kg) was ousted from the Games here after AIBA overturned the result of the bout he had won, following a review.
The 20-year-old had won 13-11 over Errol Spence in a thrilling contest on Friday night but following an appeal by his rival's team management, the AIBA awarded the bout 15-13 to the American citing the fouls committed by the Indian which were not noticed by the referee.
While agreeing, Vikas had gone into a clinch with his rival, the Indians have claimed that the American was equally guilty of the same offence.
National coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said the Indians will challenge the observations made by the competition jury, which felt that Vikas should have been penalised four points for holding his rival nine times and deliberately spitting out his gumshield during the bout.
"...our guy did not hold Spence for more than seven times. The American was guilty of holding Vikas four times according to us. As for spitting the gumshield, that may or may not be considered because the referee had failed to spot it during the bout," Sandhu told agencies.
Asked about the chances of India's counter-appeal getting any favourable result, Sandhu said, "I can't say for sure what will happen but we will ensure that our version is also taken into account."
Raja too admitted that there were not too many options in front of the team after the world body's review and reversal of the original decision.
"In such cases, the jury decision is final. Because they replay the bout and go through it very closely before deciding whether to stick to the original decision or overturn it. Not many options are there but let's see," he said.
The AIBA cited fouls committed by Vikas as the reason for overturning his 13-11 win. Interestingly, after the bout, Danish referee Lars Brovil had initially lifted Spence's hand as the winner before the India's name was announced.
"There were a total of nine (9) holding fouls committed by the Indian boxer in the third round alone. However the Referee only gave one caution," the AIBA said in a statement after a review by its Competition Jury.
"In the second round, at the time 02:38, the boxer from India spitted out his gumshield intentionally. However the Referee didn't give any warning," it added.
Based on these 'findings', the jury members 'unanimously' decided to award Spence four points, thereby making him the winner.
"Based on the AIBA Technical & Competition Rules 12.1.9, the referee should have given at least two (2) warnings to the Indian boxer. Although the boxer from India intentionally spitted out his gumshield, the Referee's view was blocked by the boxer from the USA and was not able to see the action," the international body said.
"...at least four points should have been awarded to the boxer from the USA. Therefore the final score should be 13:15 in favour of the USA. The protest is accepted and the winner of Bout 142 is Errol Spence (USA)," the AIBA statement added.
A relieved Spence had welcomed the AIBA's decision to overturn the original result.
"I am obviously thrilled that the competition jury overturned my decision and I can continue chasing the gold medal I came here to win," Spence said.
"I am going to make the most of this second chance that I've been given. I can't wait to get back in that ring on Tuesday."
Third seed Vikas, a 2010 Asian Games gold-medallist in the 60kg category, had jumped a couple of divisions for the Olympics.
Vikas, only the second Indian boxer after Vijender to fetch a bronze medal in the World Championship, was among the biggest medal prospects for the country.
Earlier, India were at the wrong end of the AIBA review system when the country's appeal against the close opening-round loss of Sumit Sangwan (81kg) was rejected by the world body's competition jury.
Boxing at the ongoing Olympics has been marred by several controversies with AIBA's scoring system coming under severe criticism and two judges have been suspended so far after protests by participating teams.
Meanwhile, Spence has moved into the quarterfinals to face Russia's Andrey Zamkovoy on Tuesday
Amateur boxing's scoring system has always been a subject of controversy. Under the system, five ringside judges award points when they feel a punch has landed, making it subjective and inconsistent.
The highest and the lowest scores are discarded and a mean of the three most consistent scores is taken to decide the overall winner.
Earlier, India had been left disappointed by the appeals system in badminton when Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa unsuccessfully challenged the result of a group match featuring Japan and Chinese Taipei, alleging that the teams underperformed to ensure a favourable draw in the next round.
London: Stung by Vikas Krishan's controversial ouster from the Olympics, the Indian boxing team on Saturday filed a protest of its own against the International Boxing Association's decision to overturn his pre-quarterfinal win against American Errol Spence.
The appeal was filed after an emergency meeting of the team with Chef-de-Mission and Indian Boxing Federation secretary general P.K. Muralidharan Raja.