By Patrick Johnston
LONDON (Reuters) - 'Cheating, cheating, cheating,' was light-welterweight Manoj Kumar's verdict after losing his battle of Commonwealth champions with Briton Thomas Stalker as Indian grumbles at controversial Olympic scoring continued.
While Kumar complained, British boxing captain Stalker moved on to the quarter-finals and one win away from at least a bronze medal following the 20-16 win on Saturday.
Stalker, who won the lightweight Commonwealth Games in Delhi two years ago, cleverly utilized his sharper hand speed to land flurries of punches as the aggressive Kumar walked in looking for one shot.
Roared on by a carnival crowd at the ExCel arena, buzzing with the announcements of home gold medals elsewhere in the Games, the Brit took a questionably large 7-4 lead after the first round and won the second by an eye-catching 9-5 margin.
While Stalker was perhaps the better fighter in the round the ringside judges were not in total agreement, with the Turkish official giving awarding it 7-5 to Kumar.
Judging in amateur boxing is always a controversial topic with governing body International Boxing Association's (AIBA) forced to change the result of a bout on Friday. Indian Vikas Krishan was paraded as the victor in the ring only for AIBA to overturn the decision and give the win to American welterweight Errol Spence following a video review.
That came after AIBA dismissed two officials this week for wrongdoing.
The Krishan decision incensed India officials, who were told they could not appeal the decision by AIBA and Kumar's loss did little to lighten their mood.
"This is not an Olympic tournament, this is a district tournament. Cheating, cheating, cheating," Kumar, who won gold at light-welterweight in his home Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, told reporters after taking the final round 7-4.
In amateur boxing bouts, all fives judges score each individual round but the points awarded to the boxers are the average of the three judges' combination that are the closest together.
"In amateur boxing it happens all the time," Stalker told reporters when asked about his thoughts on the scoring,
"I've had fights where I've thought I've won by more points that I have. It's just boxing, I just leave it to the judges."
Winning the final round did little to cheer India's Cuban boxing coach Blas Fernandez.
"In the last round they give us 7-4, why no other round? They were all the same," Fernandez ranted.
"This tournament the judging is very poor. How do you give the bout to a man like this who doesn't want to box? Why are they doing this?"
Another man unhappy about the officiating was South Korean light-flyweight Shin Jong-hun, who left the ring slowly in an apparent state of shock having lost 15-14 to Bulgaria's Aleksandrar Aleksandrov.
Shin, silver medalist at the world championship and seeded two here in London, refused to discuss his bout as he left the arena, standing with his hands on his hips in disbelief.
The fight of the night, however, involved Ukraine light-welterweight Denys Berinchyk who was one part of a second round slug fest with Swede Anthony Yigit.
Berinchyk, sporting a bizarre partly shaved haircut, took the round 19-13 en route to a 26-25 win which brought the crowd to their feet as both men landed blow after blow in the middle of the ring.
"It really was a hell of a fight," Yigit told reporters.
(Additional reporting by Padraic Halpin)