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Roy Jones Jr was stunningly denied gold medal at Olympics after ‘biggest robbery in boxing history’ left him furious and doubting future career


Roy Jones Jr missed out on a gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games in seismic controversy.

Jones Jr is considered one of the greatest to have ever laced up a pair of gloves, reigning as a four-weight world champion incredibly from middleweight up to heavyweight during his time as a professional.

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Jones Jr completely dominated his rival, but it came to no availCredit: Getty

His incredible achievements were as a result of a stellar amateur career, where he represented the US in the light-middleweight at the 1988 Olympics in South Korea.

RJ had won the Golden Gloves two years prior and was considered hot property, which he proved on his impressive run to the final as part of Team USA.

He reached the final and faced local hero Park Si-Hun, who had gripped the nation with his performances to reach the medal bout.

Si-Hun had already received a slice of good luck after narrowly pipping Italian Vincenzo Nardiello in his quarter-final, which was considered contentious.

Jones had hardly lost a round en route to the showpiece event, and began by dominating from the opening bell.

The bright prospect put on a boxing clinic in the ring, boxing comfortably and on the front foot against the South Korean, who simply couldn’t cope with his rival.

Fans in the arena began to become dejected as they watched Jones show he was simply levels above the home favourite, who simply tried to cling on.

As the final bell rang and the pair returned to their corners, the domination was clear for all to see with Jones having outlanded his rival by 82 punches to 32.

Si-Hun couldn't believe what had just happened after he picked up gold

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Si-Hun couldn’t believe what had just happened after he picked up goldCredit: Getty

The punch recorder even scored the totals as 20-3, 30-15 and 36-14 in each of the three rounds in Jones’ favour.

But incredibly in one of the most controversial decisions in the sport’s history, the judges’ elected to hand his rival the gold medal.

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To his and the boxing world’s long-lasting disgust, three of the five judges ruled that Si-Hun had done enough to get the job done and he lost 3-2 on the scorecards.

It was a simply unprecedented announcement, and fans in the arena as well as the home fighter couldn’t believe their luck.

‘Captain Hook’ was absolutely furious and pranced round the ring looking to make a one-man inquest.

He then took to the microphone and said: “There was no doubt at all. I knew I had won the fight.

“What can I do? I know what they did, but there is nothing I can do about that.

“As long as I won, I did the best I could. Yeah it could discourage me from having a boxing career.

“I don’t know if I can go through much more of that and that’s not the first time that has happened to me.”

In 2021 he recalled the fight, and was clearly still furious by it’s outcome, which saw him reluctantly take home a silver medal.

Jones Jr doubted if he would continue his career

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Jones Jr doubted if he would continue his careerCredit: NBC

He said nearly three-decades on: “To see an opposition hand be raised by judges who were crooked, to have a wrong and injustice not being fixed.

“I earned a gold medal that night in Seoul in 1988. Judges were crooked and I am sure they were not the only ones.

“I can never forget that feeling, when they raised the Korean’s hand over mine.”

His opponent Si-Hun remained in the spotlight for years to come, with many of the blame seemingly put at his door by angry fans.

It was a win but the young fighter knew he had been outclassed, and even insisted in a later interview that he didn’t think the win was worthwhile in the long-term.

He told AP 32-years after the famous day: “I didn’t want my hand to be raised (after the fight with Jones), but it did go up, and my life became gloomy because of that.

“I keep thinking how my life would have been happier had I finished second.

“The emotional stress was like like being hit with a hammer on the back of your head, again and again.

Jones Jr went on to have monumental success as a pro

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Jones Jr went on to have monumental success as a proCredit: Getty
He returned for a stunning exhibition with Mike Tyson in 2020

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He returned for a stunning exhibition with Mike Tyson in 2020Credit: Joe Scarnici/Triller

“A gold medal is important, but isn’t any Olympic medal satisfying and glorious?”

Si-Hun went on to retire from boxing shortly after claiming gold given the decision, and went on to work as a middle-school teacher as his full-time job.

It was Jones who went on to have huge success in the squared circle, despite the defeat turning professional one year later in 1989.

He became the first boxer who has won a world title at super-welterweight to do so following up at heavyweight in a simply incredible career.

The legend went on to fight some leading names in the sport including Joe Calzaghe, Felix Trinidad and Bernard Hopkins.

Jones Jr retired as a professional in 2018 before making a comeback to fight Mike Tyson in a historic exhibition in 2021.

He has since returned professionally in a defeat to MMA star Anthony Pettis in 2023, but could still return having previously held collapsed talks with Tommy Fury.

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