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Boxing: High school meet to be taped following allegations against JABF

This April 17, 2012 file photo shows Akira Yamane, chairman of the Japan Amateur Boxing Association. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Nationwide criticism over allegations of the Japan Amateur Boxing Federation's questionable decisions by referees has forced a national high school meet starting Thursday in Gifu Prefecture to make video recordings of all matches.

The JABF denied the allegations in a statement released Wednesday, but Eiji Yotsuhashi, the head of the amateur boxing governing body in Gifu, said he will record all of the matches to prevent any misjudgment by referees at the seven-day inter-high school championships.

"People are losing their trust in referees. There can be no sports without that trust," Yotsuhashi said Wednesday, the opening day of the championships.

The decision to record the matches follows a complaint filed last month by a privately-formed amateur boxing support group to the Japanese Olympic Committee, including statements by three referees that JABF president Akira Yamane had ordered them to make bad judgments.

"We weren't able to speak up for a long time, but we couldn't remain patient any longer," said former JABF board member Yoshio Tsuruki, who also leads the support group.

Tsuruki and his group of over 300 has referred specifically to a first-round bout at the 2016 National Sports Festival in Iwate Prefecture, where a local boxer lost on a split decision to a Nara Prefecture boxer despite knocking him down twice.

According to sources, there have been rumors that Yamane, a 78-year-old Nara native, has given unfair advantage to boxers representing the western Japan prefecture.

The complaint, which mentions 12 specific points, was sent by mail to the JOC, the Japan Sports Agency and the Japan Sport Association among other places, according to sources. It asks that the JABF be investigated and the relevant parties penalized.

Concerning one of the letter's points, the JABF admitted the federation misused grant money given by the Japan Sport Council to Rio de Janeiro Olympian Daisuke Narimatsu.

The federation issued a statement Wednesday saying Yamane requested Narimatsu to split his 2.4 million yen ($21,506) grant with two other boxers, though sources claim Yamane ordered the 28-year-old to share the grant.

London 2012 Olympic gold medalist Ryota Murata, who won the men's middleweight event, has criticized the JABF and stood up for Narimatsu on social media.

"It's about time (those involved) quit. It's time for a generational change and to stop bringing disgrace upon themselves," Murata wrote on his Facebook page.

"I think Narimatsu is going through a really tough time," he added. "It's impossible for people to do such a thing if they had put themselves in his shoes."

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