Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (May 2019)

May 2nd – Steven Butler got a gift against Vitalii Kopylenko in Las Vegas thanks to the 96-93 cards of Tim Cheatham and Eric Cheek.


May 4th – Not only was Jonathan Oquendo hard done by a strange round 8 point deduction from Russell Mora, but the cards never gave him a shot in a fight which, to my eyes, he edged.

His opponent, Lamont Roach, won by scores of 97-92 twice (Dave Moretti and Richard Ocasio) and 96-93 (Steve Weisfeld).


May 10th – Kevin Parker deserves credit for stopping Terri Harper vs. Claudia Andrea Lopez at the perfect time in round 6 to stop Lopez from undue punishment.


May 11th – Robin Taylor and Steve Weisfeld (both 115-112) each had Julian Williams a far too narrow winner in his dominant display to upset Jarrett Hurd.


May 17th – Ref Shada Murdaugh fucked up what was supposed to be a routine knockover job in the Marco Huck-Nick Guivas fight.

Murdaugh shouted break during an exchange less than a minute in, was slow to get between the fighters, and Huck continued punching anyway (though he must have heard the instruction), knocking Guivas out.

The decision was an accidental foul and a no contest.

Frankly, it’s ridiculous that this wasn’t ruled a disqualification loss for Huck.


May 18th – Hard to see how Matteo Montella found three rounds to score for Shefat Isufi, as he was virtually shut out (with the exception of landing a single hurtful punch) by Billy Joe Saunders in a facile bout.


May 25th – Terrell Gausha was robbed and forced to settle for a draw against veteran Austin Trout because of the cards of John Dixson (94-96) and Bill Hunter (95-95).

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (April 2019)

April 13th – In Atlantic City, Rydell Booker was given no credit for his effort against prospect Jermaine Franklin by judges Henry Eugene Grant (98-92), James Kinney (99-91) and Alan Rubenstein (98-92).


In Mexico, Jaime Munguia was lucky to escape with his belt against Dennis Hogan. Particularly egregious was the 116-112 card of Waleska Roldan.


April 20th – Ref Michael Alexander allowed Przemyslaw Runowski to take too much punishment against Josh Kelly and should have stopped proceedings in the 9th round.


April 26th – Former Olympic medallist Shakhram Giyasov was given a tough test by veteran Emanuel Taylor in his debut as a Matchroom promoted fighter.

Rudy Barragan and Pat Russell (both 99-91) weren’t watching the same fight.


In Italy, journeyman Stephen Danyo was screwed against home boxer Orlando Fiordigiglio, via both a BS point deduction from Massimiliano Bianco, and the matching 93-96 cards of Timo Habighorst, Beat Hausammann & Ammar Sakraoui.


April 27th – On the WBSS undercard in Louisiana, ref Kevin Babineuax gave Dennis Williams a de facto time out against Sean Hemphill when he asked him if he could continue multiple times after he suffered a sudden arm injury.

Nowhere in the rules of boxing are time outs of this kind allowed.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (March 2019)

March 9th – Yordenis Ugas can feel hard done by in his challenge of Shawn Porter.

Jack Reiss missed a crucial 12th round knockdown that could have swung the fight his way on the cards, not that it would have mattered on the horrible 112-116 of Steve Morrow.


March 15th – Gabe Rosado showed huge heart to almost pull his losing effort against Maciej Sulecki out of the fire at the end of the 9th round.

However, it was marred a little by the fact that the bell to end the round was at least five seconds late and the ref Shawn Clark allowed Rosado to blatantly hold and hit in the moments preceding the knockdown.

Elsewhere on the same show, Benjy Esteves Jr. messed up the ending of Katie Taylor-Rose Volante.

He called a TKO in the 9th round due to a Volante nose injury, blatantly caused by a big head clash which took place right in front of him moments earlier.


March 16th – On the big Spence-Garcia undercard, Mark Calo-oy missed a heavy knockdown from Lindolfo Delgado to James Roach, somehow ruling it a push.

The fight ended shortly thereafter.

In the main event, Mikey Garcia was done a disservice by John Schorle by not being pulled out in the 11th round, as he absorbed hellacious punishment which will likely affect his career going forward.


March 17th – Paddy Barnes was dropped by a textbook left hook to the body by Oscar Mojica in the second round.

Danny Schiavone mystifyingly ruled it no knockdown.


March 22nd – Andrew Moloney had a lot to overcome as he travelled to Chile for a title eliminator, not just his opponent Miguel Gonzalez.

Moloney had a knockdown scored against him in round 6 by ref Romina Arroyo, despite his opponent not throwing a punch.

Moloney persevered and finished the fight via 8th round KO.

He needed it because at the time of the stoppage, the scores were 68-64 and 67-65 for the hometown boxer, and 66-66 on the other.


March 23rd – Visiting boxer German Argentino Benitez (who, for the record, is Argentine) can feel hard done by during his trip to London, the judges giving him no credit for his strong underdog effort versus Lewis Ritson.

Mark Lyson (98-92), Grzegorz Molenda (98-92) & Giuseppe Quartarone (99-91) all seemed to have picked their favourite pre-fight.


March 30th – Serial idiot Terry O’Connor (118-110) offended again in his assessment of the evenly contested Robbie Davies Jr.-Joe Hughes bout.

Consequences, you ask? None.

In the main event, Erkki Meronen (96-94) turned in a poor card in favour of Anthony Fowler, as he lost a terrific fight with Scott Fitzgerald.


In Dublin, on a show I attended live at the National Stadium, Bojana Libiszewska can count herself unlucky to have received little credit from the ref (37-40) in her bullish effort against Siobhan O’Leary.


Finally, in Philadelphia, ref Eric Dali showed a fundamental and worrying lack of knowledge of the rules during the bizarre ending of the Oleksandr Gvozdyk-Doudou Ngumbu fight.

Ngumbu pulled up suddenly in the fifth round with a freak leg injury and instead of calling for an immediate TKO based on the fact that Ngumbu couldn’t continue and no foul, accidental or otherwise, had occurred, Dali called for a five minute rest period for Ngumbu to recover.

Ultimately, he couldn’t and the fight was belatedly ruled a TKO win for Gvozdyk but imagine a scenario where Ngumbu continues after a break which he shouldn’t have received and gone on to win the title. This was literally a case of Dali making up the rules as he went along.

How is such an unqualified ref allowed to officiate a fight for the lineal 175lb. title?

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (February 2019)

February 2nd – Massimiliano Bianco’s 115-114 was a ridiculous card in Sergio Garcia’s dominant away win over Ted Cheeseman.


Ref Gregorio Alvarez allowed a terribly late stoppage in Teofimo Lopez vs. Diego Magdaleno.

Magdaleno suffered a heavy knockdown in round 6, and the lack of a stoppage resulted in a hammering from that point onwards and a bad knockout in the 7th.


February 8th – Another late stoppage came at the hands of John Cauchi in the Tim Tszyu destruction of Denton Vassell.


February 9th – Sharif Bogere was pushed down behind his neck in round six of his bout with Javier Fortuna, incorrectly ruled a knockdown by Edward Collantes.


February 10th – Chris Tellez’s 116-112 card for Jose Ramirez was probably filled out before his evenly matched fight with Jose Zepeda even began.


February 15th – Mark Nelson, whom I rate low on the totem pole of competent officials, counted a knockdown against Joshua Greer, when he was hit after the bell to end round 3 by Giovanni Escaner.


February 23rd – Howard Foster (111-114) and Jerome Lades (111-115) were too kind to James DeGale in his virtual wipeout loss to Chris Eubank Jr.


In Mexico, there were some really terrible cards in favour of Humberto Soto, as he appeared to fight on even terms with fellow veteran Brandon Rios.

Carlos Flores (119-111), Alejandro Rochin (118-112) & Esteban Franco (118-112) only had eyes for one (Mexican) man.


On the undercard, Hector Tanajara vs. Ivan Delgado was stopped on a relatively minor cut and a technical decision after four rounds awarded to Tanajara.

Would ref Christian Curiel have done the same if it was the B-side boxer Delgado who was ahead on points?


Elsewhere, on a PBC card, Juergen Langos’ 98-92 for Avni Yildirim in his bout with Anthony Dirrell seemed way off the mark. Dirrell ended up with the technical split decision verdict.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (January 2019)

January 18th – It was a night of strange stoppages on the latest Matchroom DAZN card.

Artur Akavov had shown little in the way of competing with Demetrius Andrade but it made no sense for Arthur Mercante Jr. to stop it in the 12th round with Akavov in little visible trouble.

The same can be said of Mike Ortega’s decision to call a halt to Ryohei Takahashi’s night in the 11th round against TJ Doheny.


January 19th –  On the other extreme in Vegas, it was scarcely believable that Badou Jack was allowed to fight on for more than five full rounds with one of the worst cuts I’ve ever seen in a boxing ring.


Added to that is the fact that Jack was never competitive with Marcus Browne.

It was dangerous stuff from Tony Weeks.


January 26th – In Brooklyn, Gerald Washington was out on his feet after a heavy(weight) knockdown against Adam Kownacki in the second round, but Harvey Dock allowed it to continue.

Washington took a few more unnecessary heavy blows before he finally stepped in.


In the main event, Keith Thurman laboured to victory in his comeback fight with Josesito Lopez.

Lopez was given no credit by the rubbish 117-109 card of Tom Shreck.


In Texas, there were some other curiously wide cards.

Takeshi Inoue gave Jaime Munguia a hard battle, not that you’d have known it by the verdicts of Levi Martinez (119-109), Javier Martinez (120-108) and Cesar Ramos (120-108).

The same was true in the co-feature, where Xu Can overcame Jesus Rojas in a close battle.

Ignacio Robles (118-110) and Gloria Martinez (117-110) saw it too wide.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (December 2018)

December 1st – Sad to begin December on such a down note.

Tyson Fury suffered the most high profile robbery of the year, held to a draw in a fight he clearly won by the even card of Phil Edwards and the absurd 111-115 of Alejandro Rochin.

The grace note of the fight, however, was the excellent decision by ref Jack Reiss to continue his ten count rather than waving it off when Fury looked out cold on the canvas in the final round.


In a tragic fight in Quebec, Adonis Stevenson suffered a traumatic brain injury during his loss to Oleksandr Gvozdyk.

It’s hardly relevant in the circumstances, but I will point out that Michael Griffin missed two knockdowns in the bout, one for each boxer, and Jack Woodburn’s 98-92 card for Stevenson at the time of the KO was terrible judging.


December 7th – David Irving was responsible for a very premature stoppage of Marian Cazacu against prospect Roy Sheahan at the very end of round 3.

The main event of this rare televised Republic of Ireland boxing show from Mayo was a mess of officiating errors.

Christian Uruzquieta soundly beat Ray Moylette, only to almost be robbed by the 94-95 card of one judge.

Also, though I wasn’t keeping count in every round, the timekeeper allowed almost 30 seconds extra in the corner after round 5, when Moylette had been close to being stopped, and the bell rang 15 seconds early in round 8.


In Belfast, Zoltan Enyedi’s 95-94 was way too close a verdict for Conrad Cummings’ win over Ferenc Berki.


December 8th – Jan Christensen (119-109) gave no credit to plucky underdog Michael Zerafa’s effort against Kell Brook.


Same goes for Tom Schreck’s 119-107 card for Vasyl Lomachenko-Jose Pedraza.

On the undercard, Isaac Dogboe scored a knockdown of Emanuel Navarrete in round 9 that was not called by Benjy Esteves Jr.


December 15th – Bernard Bruni’s 100-90 didn’t reflect Mauricio Herrera’s decent first half challenge of Sadam Ali.


December 22nd – Our old friend Ian John Lewis (116-113) made a fool of himself yet again by scoring for Reece Bellotti in a fight he lost widely against Ryan Walsh.

Tom Little was prematurely stopped in the 4th round of his fight with David Price by ref Kieran McCann.

Terry O’Connor, thankfully, had his final fight as ref in a British ring, overseeing Joshua Buatsi vs. Renold Quinlan.

Appropriately, it was a complete mess.

Buatsi rendered Quinlan spaghetti legged with a punch on the break, which was for all intents and purposes ignored and moved on from, as a concussed Quinlan (given virtually no recovery time) was finished off by Buatsi moments later.

Good riddance to the frankly dangerous O’Connor.


In Brooklyn, late replacement Matt Korobov appeared to these eyes to have done enough to upset Jermall Charlo, only to be denied by the cards of Max DeLuca (116-112), Steve Weisfeld (the same) & Larry Hazzard Jr. (119-108).

The Hazzard Jr. card, which included a silly 10-8 12th round, is criminal and one of the worst you will ever see. Truly putrid.


December 31st – Most observers felt Kazuto Ioka did enough to beat Donnie Nietes, who prevailed by split decision to win a belt at a 4th weight.

Levi Martinez’s 118-110 for Nietes raised eyebrows for being so far off.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (November 2018)

November 3rd – In Glasgow, Zach Parker escaped with a highly controversial decision over Darryl Williams due to the cards of Steve Gray (115-114) & Victor Loughlin (117-112), two of the regular ‘Judging the Judges’ entrants.


Loughlin couldn’t help himself, following this up by prematurely stopping the Josh Taylor-Ryan Martin main event in the 7th round.


November 24th – The latest Monte Carlo show was not a good one from an officiating standpoint.

First, ref Stephane Nicolo was very late to stop the Daniyar Yeleussinov-Marcos Mojica mismatch.

Mojica didn’t want to know after being knocked down in round 3, but Nicolo allowed him to take further punishment before stepping in.


A seemingly weight-drained Kal Yafai underperformed against Israel Gonzalez, in a fight that could have gone either way, not that you’d have known this from the scorecards.

Giuseppe Quartarone (117-111), Gustavo Padilla (116-112), & Jean Robert Laine (116-112) all turned in wide cards in favour of the defending titlist.


Finally, Gustavo Padilla allowed a weary, beat-up Alexander Ustinov to take too much from Michael Hunter.

Ustinov was stumbling around after an 8th round knockdown, and yet it was allowed to continue on, with Padilla virtually carrying Ustinov back to the corner at the end of the three withering minutes.

The belated finish came in the 9th, only after another knockdown and the towel being thrown in.


November 30th – It was a very poor night of officiating on the first Matchroom Italy card in Florence.

Martin J. Ward dominated home boxer Devis Boschiero, only to have to settle for a split decision win due to the card of Francisco Alloza Rosa (113-115).

The 115-113 card of Predrag Aleksic was almost as bad.

The same was true of the following fight, as Joe Hughes seemingly eased to victory over a dire Andrea Scarpa, only to be almost denied by the 112-116 verdict of Predrag Aleksic (again!), surely one of the years worst cards.

In the main event, Fabio Turchi stopped Tony Conquest in the seventh round, aided by a hard shot landed when Conquest had already touched down.

This was ignored by Francisco Alloza Rosa (again!), who administered the count and ended the fight. This is a disturbingly common theme when punches are landed on a downed boxer.


Back in Glasgow, Tyrone McKenna can thank ref Michael Alexander’s 96-95 card for saving him from defeat by Lewis Benson in a fight in which he appeared to come off second best.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (October 2018)

October 5th –Jan Teleki’s 91-99 did no justice to Matty Fagan in his closely contested defeat to Robbie Barrett in Barnsley.


In Belfast, ref Reece Carter oversaw the Marco McCullough-Rudy Encarnacion bout.

In one of the fight’s key moments, Carter didn’t say break but sought to separate the boxers.

McCullough was caught and hurt with a big left hook as Carter came in awkwardly and without exercising the proper authority.

This could have ended very differently, but McCullough ended up escaping with a narrow win.


In the main event of the same card, Tyrone McCullagh coasted past John Kennedy to a wide win, on everyone’s card but that of Jose Ignacio Martinez Antunez, who saw it unrealistically close at 96-94.


October 6th – In Leicester, Phil Edwards missed a flash round 5 knockdown of Nicola Adams by Isabel Millan.

Manuel Oliver Palomo’s 96-94 card was too generous to the visitor.


In Chicago, Celestino Ruiz said “stop” seconds before Beterbiev, who ignored and continued to punch, knocked down Callum Johnson in the fight round of their fight.

Ruiz counted the knockdown as if no rules infraction had occurred.


October 13th – Francesco Patera outboxed home favourite Lewis Ritson in Newcastle to win the European title, not that Soren Saugmann (112-116) saw it that way, turning in a risible scorecard.


In Omaha, Mike Alvarado blew away journeyman Robbie Cannon, who was out on his feet after the first knockdown.

Brandon Pfannenstiel allowed the fight to go on and Cannon to be brutally knocked out.


October 20th – In Boston, John Madfis (37-38) inexplicably scored 2 of the first 3 rounds of the Tevin Farmer-James Tennyson fight to Tennyson, who was dominated from bell to bell en route to a 5th round defeat.


In the main event, Steve Willis issued no warning to Demetrius Andrade when he landed a blatant, and hard, punch on Walter Kautondokwa when he was down in the first round.


On a broader note, praise must go to the Massachusetts commission for not allowing the Billy Joe Saunders-Demetrius Andrade fight to go ahead after Saunders’ failed VADA test.

There must have been pressure on them to do so, but they did the right thing for the sport and for Andrade.


On a Vegas undercard, an evenly contested Joseph Adorno-Kevin Cruz fight was spoiled by the cards of Chris Migliore and the infamous Adalaide Byrd (59-53).

Both judges absurdly gave just a single round to Cruz, aiding Adorno in achieving a unanimous verdict.

This is what happens when the likes of Byrd are allowed to continue to work after repeated showings of incompetence at the highest level.

Young fighters see their careers directly and irrevocably affected by this endemic incompetence.


October 26th – We must end on a sad note, reflecting on the passing away of Christian Daghio after his defeat in Thailand:–133416

Daghio was 49 years old, having just his 11th pro fight, and had hardly faced an opponent with a winning record in his career.

Still, he was somehow sanctioned to take part in his 4th 12 rounder, and it was a final round stoppage in a gruelling fight that led to his death.

The commission in Thailand (or Rangsit, if a more local body was overseeing this card, it is not clear) and the WBC, who had one of their myriad meaningless baubles at stake, deserve the harshest of criticism for allowing such a fight to go ahead.

The risk was evident. The consequences were final.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (September 2018)

August 24th – An evenly-matched and entertaining bout between George Ashie and Stephen Ormond was unfortunately decided by a referee error.

Kenny Pringle ruled a knockdown in round 8 against Ashie when he swung himself off his feet with a wild punch, getting caught with nothing in return.

This created a three point swing in the scoring and directly led to Ashie’s one point margin of defeat.


September 1st – Boxing’s answer to Justin Bieber, Ryan Garcia, was pushed hard and even hurt by Carlos Morales in his first real test as a pro.

A majority decsision outcome was fair, but the 98-92 cards of Max DeLuca and Edward Hernandez Sr. were not.


September 9th – Donnie Nietes was very unlucky to have to settle for a draw in a fight he appeared to clearly win vs. Aston Palicte.

Robert Hoyle (112-116) and (again) Max DeLuca (114-114) saw it differently.

It’s worth noting that DeLuca has historically been one of the worst offenders in ‘Judging the Judges’.


September 13th – Franchon Crews Dezurn and Maricela Cornejo contested a women’s bout at 168lbs., with Crews Dezurn dominating the fight and hurting her opponent on multiple occasions.

Patricia Morse Jarman’s 95-95 card made little sense as a reflection of the action.


September 14th – Prospect Gabriel Flores Jr. hit the deck in the first round against Roger Gutierrez, but recovered to win a six round decision.

Judges Edward Hernandez Sr. & Zac Young (59-54) strangely did not give credit to Gutierrez for a 10-8 round.


September 22nd – Carlos Sucre’s 59-55 for Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin did nothing to reflect the strong effort from the Russian challenger.


September 28th – Same goes for Jan Christensen’s 59-55 for George Groves vs. Callum Smith for a first half of a fight which Smith controlled prior to getting the 7th round knockout.


The first Thomas Mattice-Zhora Hamazaryan fight was one of the year’s most controversial.

The rematch draw was an acceptable verdict on the cards but Alejandro Rochin’s 77-75 for Mattice was again unduly harsh on Zhora.

In the main event of the same Shobox card, Edward Hernandez Sr.’s 97-93 for Devin Haney vs. Juan Carlos Burgos was very generous to the Mexican veteran who did not appear to win a single round.


September 29th – In the main event of a card from Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Erkan Teper eventually succumbed to an 8th round KO to fellow faded veteran Robert Helenius.

What was notable, however, was the timekeeper ending rounds early on several occasions to assist a hurt Teper. This was hardly a coincidence.


In Brooklyn, Arthur Mercante Jr. came up with a bizarre stoppage with a minute left in the final round of Jude Franklin vs. Danny Flores.

Flores was in no trouble and had not been caught with a clean punch when Mercante stopped the fight.


September 30th – In California, Rudy Barragan should have stopped the Jesse Rodriguez-Edwin Reyes fight long before the final bell.

Reyes absorbed a lot of unnecessary punishment, especially in a hard-to-watch final round.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (August 2018)

August 4th – Ron Lipton scored a bogus knockdown against Andre Berto in a battle of faded ex-titlists with Devon Alexander.

Berto needn’t have worried, though, as Julie Lederman & Don Trella generously scored 8 rounds in his favour for a fishy split decision.


In Cardiff, Michael Alexander (117-112) was ludicrously generous to Sean Dodd in his whitewash loss to prospect Joe Cordina.


August 18th – Bryant Jennings vs. Alexander Dimitrenko ended in a premature stoppage in round 9, Allen Huggins jumping in to end things immediately after Dimitrenko had been dropped by an uppercut, which the visitor immediately protested.

Huggins had not given him any opportunity to demonstrate that he still had his faculties intact.


August 19th – As usual in Russia, it was a strange night of officiating.

Eduard Skavynskyi was boxing Oleksandr Ivanov, and sustained an absolutely horrible cut in round 7 which should have stopped the fight.

A very weak doctor named Pavel Zhukov got talked into letting it go on and ref Giustino Di Giovanni had no authority or control of the situation either.

It got even worse in round 9.

Skavynskyi was hit with a low blow, didn’t go down, but Di Giovanni inexplicably gave him an 8 count! I couldn’t believe what I was watching.

While he would have lost by TKO on cuts in virtually anywhere else in the world, Skavynskyi managed to go the distance and win a decision.


The Maryland commission (boss Pat Pannela) have shockingly lifted their suspension of Leon Lawson, the trainer who punched Jose Uzcategui square on the jaw with bare knuckles after Uzcategui’s controversial first fight with Andre Dirrell in May 2017.

Lawson is now free to resume corner duties, when, truthfully, he should be behind bars somewhere and certainly never anywhere near a boxing ring again.

Uzcategui is rightly fuming:–131374
I’m pleased to see the Boxing Writers’ Association of America have begun a new initiative to highlight instances of bad officialdom in the sport:

Laurence Cole rightly came under criticism from the BWAA for his performance during the Regis Prograis-Juan Jose Velasco fight.