AIBA Using AI to Weed Out Judging Corruption In Amateur Boxing

AIBA Using AI to Weed Out Judging Corruption In Amateur Boxing

Technology is amazing. AIBA is now implementing artificial intelligence to weed out potential conflicts of interest in amateur boxing bouts. AI has been the solution to many problems and it seems to have found it’s footing in combat sports; at least for now.

Two months ago, we ran a story about Richard McLaren doing an investigation in corruption from judges in the 2016 Olympic Games. The most notable name was, of course, Mick Conlan being robbed. McLaren claimed to have evidence of judging corruption from AIBA appointed judging. But the corruption has gone on for decades. Even more notable than Conlan was Roy Jones Jr. being robbed at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

AIBA is the International Boxing Association and oversees amateur bouts all the way up to the Olympic Games. Corruption has long been a part of amateur boxing with bout fixing running rife throughout the sport at all levels. McLaren was the man who led the probe on the Russians at the Sochi Olympics resulting in a ban from competition for Russia. Now, he’s set out to make amateur boxing more fair by tackling the corrupt judging that AIBA is known for.

In a near-hour long press conference, McLaren, the AIBA, and Roy Jones Jr. talked about the new technology that’s been being used and have had rave reviews about it.

McLaren says the AI will help weed out potential judging issues ahead of time (Minority Report, anyone?). “It measures the cognitive functions of the brain in the verbal responses,” McLaren said of the AI system. Essentially, it measures the cognitive responses from the judges in question.

“The technology uses pertinent questions, such as ‘have you ever cheated in a boxing event’. With the use of such questions we measure risk from an individual regarding certain events of manipulation or potential corruption,” he continued. But this isn’t a simple lie detector test. It uses more analytics and runs it through the algorithm to identify with the AI to see who is a corruption risk.

Roy Jones Jr. on the AI in AIBA

As mentioned above, boxing hall of famer, Roy Jones Jr. was robbed of a match in 1988. Having him chime in on the AI technology was a brilliant move. A notable name and voice in the boxing community who had his legacy dashed by these problems shows that AIBA is owning up to the past mistakes and asking those who were affected their opinion.

“It would have been very beautiful to have this (AI) technology at that time,” Jones Jr said. “Better late than never.”

Jones Jr. was even happy with what he saw. He’s watched plenty of fights with AI selected judges and says he is satisfied with what he’s seen.

“To say the least, I’ve been very satisfied with the judging,” Jones continues, “I’ve watched at least 300 fights and I haven’t seen one that I thought was corrupt,” Jones Jr. said.

Keep in mind judges who have taken the AI tests will know that they are under scrutiny for proper judging and that could play a factor into the results recorded. But the effort is promising. With McLaren on their tails, it seems the pressure is paying off and making amateur boxing more fair.

Watch the full press conference on YouTube below!

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Blaine Henry
Your friendly neighborhood fight fan. I watch way too many fights and my wife lets me know it.