The 2012 London Olympics had its fair share of ups and downs in the boxing competition. It was a tournament replete with the typical controversy over scoring and referee decisions, while some top-tier talent, an enthusiastic home fan base, and the inspiring debut of women’s boxing in the Olympics helped to save the day.
Now, two big changes are on the horizon for Olympic boxing. They will be doing away with head gear (only for men, and not for youth classes), which has been used since the 1984 Olympics, and they will be switching to a professional-style 10-point must system for scoring.
The shift in scoring is potentially seismic, as the computerized system of tallying clean punches was, in practice, something between inept and idiotic.
While the potential for awful results are certainly still there with conventional, professional-style scoring, at least it’s a system which in some way is designed to accurately depict what’s happening inside the ring. Hard punches, and knock downs, will once again actually mean something. As will overall control of a fight and the way it’s playing out, as opposed to simply pitty-pattying and racking up “points” by landing punches.
Five ringside judges will be used to score the fights using the familiar 10-point round by round scoring methodology. Using five judges as opposed to three, and potentially throwing out divergent cards, is a system I’ve often considered as a solution to poor scoring on the professional level as well. So that’s a plus as well.
Certainly this is a step forward for the AIBA and for Olympic boxing, even if it’s merely a return to the past, and to common sense. It doesn’t fix scoring scandals, controversy, bad decisions and all the rest, but at least it’s boxing.