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Boxing: Golden Belt Series |07 February 2023

Boxing: Golden Belt Series

BONIFACE (left) … Controversial loss in quarterfinal fight

Shain Boniface loses quarterfinal fight controversially


Shain Boniface has lost his welterweight (63.5 - 67kg) elite men’s quarterfinal fight controversially against Libyan Anbeeh Akram Abdulhakem on Sunday ‒ day four of the International Boxing Association World Boxing Tour Golden Belt Series tournament taking place in Marrakech, Morocco.

After the three rounds of three minutes each, the five judges scored the bout as follows: Zambian Darius Kabwe 27-29, Egyptian Hanafy Osama 29-27, Welsh Gary Meredith 28-28, Basel Almashjari of UAE 29-27 and Spanish Acendralopez Edilberto Enrique 28-28. The first scores are for Boniface, meaning he won on two of the judges’ cards, lost on one and drew on the other two. But instead of Boniface being declared the winner, victory went to the blue corner and Abdulhakem celebrated progressing to the semifinals.

Asked to comment on the loss, Seychelles Boxing Federation secretary general Edmond Folette said from what he has gathered, although Boniface won 2-1, the organisers decided to get the two judges who scored draws to decide a winner and they chose the blue corner.

“This is unacceptable. Two judges gave Boniface the win and one scored in Abdulhakem’s favour. This was enough to give Boniface the win on a 2-1 score. I do not understand the decision to ask the other two judges who scored a draw to choose a winner. It is just unacceptable,” Folette told Sports NATION yesterday.

Folette, who has refereed at the highest level and in many international events including the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and Indian Ocean Islands Games (IOIG), also told Sports NATION that he had written to the International Boxing Association early yesterday morning to seek for an explanation but had yet to receive a reply late last night.

Sports NATION has also learned that coach Rival Payet, who is accompanying Boniface, has been trying to get an explanation from the organisers but his appeals seem to be falling on deaf ears.

Is it really over for Boniface?

The first-ever Golden Belt Series event in Africa is taking place at the 2,500-seat M’Hamid venue on Avenue Annakhil in Marrakesh, with bouts taking place across a total of 25 weight categories – 13 in the men’s competition, and 12 in the women’s competition.

A total of 370 athletes (239 men and 131 women) from 53 countries are taking part in the competition which started on February 2 and will end on Friday February 10, 2023.

Among the stars taking part are five-time world champion Julio La Cruz from Cuba and two-time world champion Lin Yu-Ting from Chinese Taipei.

The World Boxing Tour comprises a series of events that are classified into the following three categories: Golden Belt, Silver Belt and Bronze Belt tournaments, which contribute to a new IBA ranking system that will help to define the most successful boxers at the end of the year. The top-four athletes in each weight category will be fighting to be named the best of the best at the Diamond Belt Series taking place annually.

Boniface and coach Payet’s trips have been sponsored by the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (Socga) since the former is a recipient of an Olympic Solidarity scholarship in preparation for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.


Gerard Govinden







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