Nationwide criticism over allegations of the Japan Amateur Boxing Federation’s questionable decisions by referees has forced a national high school meet starting Thursday in Gifu Prefecture to make video recordings of all matches.
The JABF denied the allegations in a statement released Wednesday, but Eiji Yotsuhashi, the head of the amateur boxing governing body in Gifu, said he will record all of the matches to prevent any misjudgment by referees at the seven-day inter-high school championships.
“People are losing their trust in referees. There can be no sports without that trust,” Yotsuhashi said Wednesday, the opening day of the championships.
The decision to record the matches follows a complaint filed last month by a privately formed amateur boxing support group to the Japanese Olympic Committee, including statements by three referees that JABF president Akira Yamane had ordered them to make bad judgments.
“We weren’t able to speak up for a long time, but we couldn’t remain patient any longer,” said former JABF board member Yoshio Tsuruki, who also leads the support group.
Tsuruki and his group of over 300 has referred specifically to a first-round bout at the 2016 National Sports Festival in Iwate Prefecture, where a local boxer lost on a split decision to a Nara Prefecture boxer despite knocking him down twice.
According to sources, there has been talk that Yamane, a 78-year-old Nara native, has given unfair advantage to boxers representing the prefecture.
The complaint, which mentions 12 specific points, was sent by mail to the JOC, the Japan Sports Agency and the Japan Sport Association among others, according to sources. It asks that the JABF be investigated and the relevant parties penalized.
In response, the JOC and JSA decided Thursday to demand that a third-party panel investigate the boxing federation.