The Roar
The Roar


16 days to Rio: The boxing farce of 1988

Roy Jones Jr wants to fight Anderson Silva. (Public domain image/Mike Meares)
20th July, 2016

As the Rio opening ceremony draws nearer and nearer, today we recall one of the less savoury events in Olympic history: the controversial light-middleweight final between Roy Jones Jr and Park Si-hun at Seoul 1988.

The boxing ring had already been tarnished by one controversial moment by the time Jones and Park met for their gold medal contest.


Earlier in the tournament, referee Keith Walker had been attacked by South Korean officials after his deductions cost Byun Jong-il victory in his bantamweight match-up against Alexander Hristov.

Byun protested his loss with a sit-in in the ring for more than an hour after the contest.

That, however, had little on the injustice dealt to Jones in his final.

The American had cruised through the tournament, and by the time his three rounds against Park had finished, there was little doubt he would take home a gold medal

Three of the judges saw things differently, and Park was awarded a 3-2 victory. This was despite being on the wrong end of a 20-3, 30-15 and 36-14 punch count throughout the three rounds.

Jones, quite understandably, was less than impressed, although he didn’t hold Park responsible.


“I don’t blame him,” he said. “He didn’t score the fight. That’s the worst I’ve ever been dealt in my life. They put the silver medal around my neck, and I took it right off. I won’t put it around my neck ever again.”

As it turns out, Jones had every right to be livid with the decision.

In documents uncovered by investigative journalist Andrew Jennings, the secretary-general of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), Karl-Heinz Wuhr, alleged that bribes had been paid to a number of judges by South Korean officials.

A later investigation by the International Olympic Committee revealed the three judges who had awarded the gold to Park had also been canvassed by South Korean boxing officials.

Did the medal change hands though? No.

“There is no evidence of corruption in the boxing events in Seoul,” the IOC claimed. Some would disagree.

Be sure to follow The Roar as we look back on some of the most memorable moments in Olympic history – be they weird and wacky or brilliant and significant – and count down the days until the Rio Olympics opening ceremony.

The Roar’s countdown to the Rio Olympics

50 days to go: Australia’s first Olympian, Edwin Flack
49 days to go: Brazil capitulate at the 2012 Olympics
48 days to go: Blood in the water during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
47 days to go: Daniel Carroll, the man who won rugby gold with Australia and America
46 days to go: Margaret Abbott – the golfer who didn’t know she had won gold
45 days to go: Where did all the amateurs go?
44 days to go: Australia’s oarsome foursome
43 days to go: When Korea stood as one
42 Days to go: Oscar Swahn, the oldest Olympian
41 days to go: Edith Bosch – the Olympian not known for her medals
40 days to go: Jane Saville’s heartbreaking Sydney Olympics
39 days to go: Herb Elliot dominates in Rome 1960
38 days to go: Teofilo Stevenson, the boxer who might have beaten Ali
37 days to go: Betty Cuthbert steals the show in Melbourne
36 days to go: Jesse Owens’ heroic performance in Berlin
35 days to go: Eric the Eel steals Sydney’s heart
34 days to go: What happened to Cassius Clay’s gold medal?
33 days to go: Australia’s equestrian brilliance at Barcelona
32 days to go: The Olympic sports which are no longer with us
31 days to go: Debbie Flintoff-King wins on the line
30 days to go: The dominance of basketball’s Dream Team
29 days to go: Nadia Comenaci scores gymnastics’ first-ever perfect score
28 days to go: The man who stopped for a duck
27 days to go: The upset of the Sydney Olympics
26 days to go: Murray Rose’s scintilating Melbourne performance
25 days to go: Greg Louganis’ heroic comeback win
24 days to go: Fencing turns to duelling in Paris
23 days to go: Dawn Fraser’s flag-stealing shenanigans
22 days to go: The most prolific Olympic competitor
21 days to go: Duncan Armstrong’s underdog win in Seoul
20 days to go: Johnny Weissmuller: A brilliant swimmer and Hollywood actor
19 days to go: Majorie Jackson – the Lithgow Flash
18 days to go: Larisa Latynina, the most successful female Olympian
17 days to go: Dimitrios Loundras, the child who won an Olympic medal
16 days to go: Roy Jones Jr is robbed of an Olympic gold
15 days to go: Shane Gould’s superstar performance in Munich
14 days to go: The Kookaburras finally fly to the top of the world
13 days to go: Matthew Mitcham’s historic dive
12 days to go: Even Olympians are prone to the odd fail
11 days to go: Abebe Bikila wins the Olympic marathon running in bare feet
10 days to go: Track cycling’s greatest rivalry
9 days to go: Kieran Perkins’ gold medal from lane eight
8 days to go: Sally Pearson’s awesome run in London
7 days to go: Mark Spitz’ perfect seven gold medals in ’72
6 days to go: Usain Bolt torches the field in Beijing
5 days to go: Michael Klim and Ian Thorpe help smash America’s 4x100m world record like a guitar
4 days to go: Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ defiant black power salute
3 days to go: Michael Phelps – the best to ever grace the Olympics
2 days to go: Cathy Freeman delivers with the weight of a country on her back
1 day to go: Ian Thorpe – Australia’s finest Olympian