In a judged sport like ours, at some point you’ll inevitably come across a referee that penalizes you more than you think you deserve or a judge that favours your opponent unfairly. Sometimes a bout is so close that it’s strictly a matter of point of view. Other times, the cause of injustice is the lack of competence or experience of the judges. Sometimes it’s unfortunately corruption.
My response is this: we chose this sport. We must deal with it
I’m not trivializing unfairness, but unfair decisions are present at every level in boxing. As athletes, what can we do about it? The pessimistic athlete complains and sits back. The smart athlete recognizes the injustice, but then looks at the situation with a critical eye and wonders what can be improved to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence.
While preparing for a bout, being anxious and wondering whether the judges will be impartial is a major waste of energy. It’s a variable that we absolutely cannot control.
The smart athlete devotes his energy to what he can control – namely his performance – and lets go of the rest.
Work harder. You only have a few precious minutes to showcase your talent in the ring. Make the most of each one of them! Increase the intensity and pace of the fight; always be the last to throw; start strong and finish strong every round. Do not give the judges the opportunity to lean towards the other side. Tell yourself: « I do the best I can, and I do as much as I can. »
Maintain a poker face. As soon as the first bell rings, you must be impassive: don’t show any emotion. Showing your dissatisfaction can harm you in 2 ways when it comes to the judges. Your behaviour can be interpreted as:
- arrogance and disrespect for the sport;
- a sign that you are not in full control of the fight (which is related to the second criterion Domination of the Bout by technical and tactical superiority of the Technical Regulations of AIBA).
Finally, a bad attitude also tells your opponent that you’re not on top of your game. And you definitely don’t want to give him or her that psychological advantage.