(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Two of the most popular people at the Olympic boxing tournament are referees, and they’re getting loud cheers whenever they do anything.
After all, Jones Kennedy Silva do Rosario and Marcela Paula Souza are the only Brazilians left in the Rio ring.
During a tournament filled with the usual squabbles about judging and refereeing, Silva do Rosario and Paula Souza have received wild applause from the Brazilian fans who invariably notice their nationalities whenever they’re announced as working a bout. They usually acknowledge the cheers with an embarrassed smile when they appear on the overhead scoreboard before the fight begins.
Both referees also get cheered whenever they step between the fighters to break up a clinch or to give instructions. It’s all rather disconcerting _ in a good way _ in a sport where referees and judges are usually treated as enemies.
Now if only the International Boxing Association could figure out a way for Silva do Rosario and Paula Souza to officiate every bout, it might have a solution to its latest judging crisis.