Mourad Aliev, a French super-heavyweight boxer, was disqualified from his quarter-final match at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday after an intentional header with four seconds left in the second round.
Aliev reacted by protesting. He sat on the apron of the Olympic ring just outside the ropes and above the steps leading to the arena floor for almost an hour. Referee Andy Mustacchio, who disqualified Aliev, determined that he intentionally used his head on his opponent, Britain’s Frazer Clarke, who had gashes near both eyes.
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Once the disqualification was determined, Aliev sat down by the steps of the ring and did not move. Some French officials eventually approached him to talk to him and brought him water. Boxing officials finally came out to speak to Aliyev and his team, and he stood up and left the apron area.
About 15 minutes later, Aliyev returned to the arena and continued his protest for another 15 minutes. He eventually left and never returned after tearing up Mustacchio and overseeing the temporary boxing task force that ran the Tokyo tournament.
“It was my way of showing that the decision was so unfair,” Aliyev said through a translator. “I wanted to fight against all this injustice, and honestly today my teammates also had unfair results. I’ve trained my whole life for it, and I came here, and because of a referee decision, I lost. It’s finish. “
Aliyev continued: “I would have won, but it was already written that I was disqualified. I’ve prepared my whole life for this, so getting excited about this outcome is natural. “
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Clarke, on the other hand, has an opportunity to earn a medal after the victory. He spoke after the game and thought the decision was right.
“I felt there were a few heads going in there,” Clarke said. “Whether it’s intentional or not, that’s not for me to say. … I told (to Aliev afterwards) to calm down. You don’t think with your head. You think with your heart. I know it’s tough, but the best thing to do is go back to the locker room. “
The Associated Press contributed to this report.