Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (November & December 2016)

Nov. 3rd – Did this show in Variani, Georgia’s “Sport Hall” actually happen?! — http://boxrec.com/show/742202

 

Nov. 5th – Phil Sutcliffe Jr. was very lucky to get the decision over Chris Jenkins in Belfast, but it was the margin of ref Hugh Russell Jr’s 98-93 card (he was the bout’s sole scorer) that makes this a particularly egregious robbery.

 

In Vegas, Dave Moretti’s 114-113 card for Pacquiao against Jessie Vargas was very generous to the Nevada boy.

 

Credit to the poster going by the username ‘Wallet’ on the Checkhookboxing.com forums for unearthing this one.

 

There’s something very fishy about the record of former George Groves opponent, Baker Barakat, a German-based, Kurdish-born journeyman.

9 of his 41 ‘wins’ can be attributed to trilogies with Michael Gensing (0-14), Vadim Lebedev (1-15) & Denis Tykanov (1-13).

Another 6 are due to facing the murderer’s row of Constantin Stavre (0-10), Frank Borchert (0-17) & Achmed Kodar (0-15).

Perhaps the most amusing part though, is that he beat Ommid Mostaghim in 2007, and since then Mostaghim has refereed 5 of his fights.

After beating Guekkan Acar in 2009, Acar officiated one of Barakat’s fights a year later.

The majority of these bouts took place in the Energy Gym or Vital Gym, and were, wait for it, promoted by Barakat himself!

Apparently sanctioned by the German Boxing Association, these sham contests are a stain on the sport, but this is something that regularly goes on all around the world.

 

http://www.boxingscene.com/felix-sturm-b-sample-also-positive-banned-ped–110654

Felix Sturm’s B-sample has also tested positive, thus confirming my September suspicions as to why he left Germany, where legal action and a possible jail sentence await – https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/10/01/named-and-shamed-judging-the-judges-september-2016/

Amusingly, BDB boss Thomas Putz, he of the alleged improper “commercial involvement” with Sturm (https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/named-and-shamed-judging-the-judges-october-2016/), says Sturm will receive no ban due to his, now confirmed, test failure.

 

Nov. 12th – Nelson Altamirano was hosed by judges Dieter Adam (75-78), Oliver Brien (73-79) and Arnold Golger (74-78) in his bout against home prospect Phillip Nsingi in Magdeburg, Germany.

 

 

Nov. 18th – When tragedies happen in boxing, it’s all too easy to look back in hindsight and say a fight should have been halted, behaving as if we could see it coming in the deteriorating condition of the damaged fighter, when this is usually not the case.

However, sometimes it is justified, and, hand on heart, to me, and I’m sure many others, Eduard Gutknecht did not look right as he absorbed unnecessary punishment in the final rounds of his fight with George Groves.

Maybe it was in part due to a sense of deja vu stemming from Nick Blackwell in recent times, his career-ender with Eubank Jr. having also been aired on Channel 5.

Post-fight, Gutknecht collapsed, was placed into a coma for a brain bleed and is now undergoing treatment in Germany, with no good news yet emerging in the 5 weeks since.

I say this with restraint, but Terry O’Connor has long proven to be an unsafe and incompetent referee. In my view, he was at fault here for not stopping the fight 3 or 4 rounds from the end, which may have made a great difference to the current condition of Gutknecht.

 

Nov. 19th – Robert Hoyle’s 97-93 card in favour of Maurice Hooker over Darleys Perez was odious.

 

But this judging controversy was lost in the fervent debate over the result of that night’s Kovalev-Ward main event.

 

Burt A. Clements, Glenn Trowbridge and John McKaie have all come under scrutiny for their matching 114-113 cards in favour of Ward in a bout most observers, at least those at ringside or watching on HBO PPV, saw Kovalev as winning.

What must be remembered in the heat of post-fight debate is that there is a disctinct line between controversy & reasoned disagreement around a close fight and hyperbolic shouts of robbery.

I had to laugh at RingTV’s Doug Fischer’s tweet of “OH MY GOD. This is the worst robbery I’ve ever witnessed”.

The truth is that, while the majority saw Kovalev the winner, I and many others thought the judging was ultimately accurate, with Ward finding a way to bank rounds down the stretch to win. It was a fight with many close rounds that could have been scored either way.

Let’s leave the cries of robbery in 2016 and just hope for a fun and decisive rematch in the new year.

 

Dec. 10th – Danrex Tapsadan has been named and shamed here before, and he earned further mention for his handling of Isaac Dogboe vs. Julian Evaristo Aristule in Auckland, New Zealand.

Dogboe dropped Aristule in round 7 and a slow count allowed the journeyman to box on and receive further punishment. Then, once Aristule was dropped again, Tapsadan was going to let him continue, though he was obviously in no fit state to, before a more compassionate corner waved the white towel.

 

One of the year’s biggest boxing black eyes surely must be the recent case of Alexander Povetkin failing a drug test (his 2nd this year) days before a planned title eliminator, only to still be allowed by the Professional Boxing Federation Of Russia to fight a new opponent on less than a day’s notice, whom he duly knocked out in brutal fashion.

Here is Dan Rafael’s take on the lurid subject:

http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/18318905/allowing-alexander-povetkin-fight-testing-positive-not-boxing-greatest-moment

 

Dec. 30th –  What in the hell was ref Yuji Fukuchi doing at the conclusion of the Ryota Murata-Bruno Sandoval bout?

This is up there with the ref that helped Yoan Pablo Hernandez to his feet to continue after he was heavily knocked down by Wayne Braithwaite in 2008.

This has to be seen to be believed:

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (October 2016)

WBO representative Danny Leigh defended ref Marlon Wright’s botched handling of the Parker-Dimitrenko finish, bizarrely both conceding that it may have been an illegal punch that ended the bout (it was), while praising Wright for awarding the win to Parker as if the blow was legal (and openly labelling Dimitrenko a malingerer):

http://www.boxingscene.com/wbo-rep-on-dimitrenko-protest-he-looking-way-out–109345

 

Oct. 7th – The Kieran Smith vs. Robert Asagba undercard bout ended after 18 seconds, after another rabbit punch controversy.

There is seemingly no uniform way of dealing with the situation when this happens, and usually the illegal blow is ignored as in the Wright/Parker case, and here, by ref Kenny Pringle.

Surely a simple protocol can be put in place.

If it is to be considered an accidental foul, surely a set recovery time can be given to the damaged boxer? If he can’t continue, a no contest should be the only fair recourse.

Unfortunately, boxing lacks such common sense, and it’s decided on the discretionary whims of a case by case basis, usually in favour of the house fighter.

 

In that card’s main event, Jesus Cova’s 118-110 for Ricky Burns over Kiryl Relikh must be one of the worst cards of the year.

The fight could quite easily have been scored either way.

 

Oct. 8th – Ref Lee Cook’s 78-77 saved George Jupp from the embarrassment he should have suffered against journeyman Jordan Ellison.

 

Another scandal for the BDB commission in Germany, as Sam Soliman wins a legal battle, the German district court in Kiel ruling that he was wrongfully found to have committed an anti-doping violation after his first bout with Felix Sturm:

http://www.boxingscene.com/sam-soliman-over-moon-with-court-victory-germany–109935

Soliman’s manager further alleged that BDB president Thomas Putz had an improper “commercial involvement” with Sturm, which wouldn’t surprise me, as Sturm was once alleged to have paid the WBA to avoid being forced to fight his mandatory challenger…a certain Gennady Golovkin!

 

Oct. 15th – Raiko Djajic’s 117-112 card for Ryan Walsh in his unsuccessful big to become European champion against Dennis Ceylan was a very poor one.

 

Oct. 22nd – In the most foul-filled bout I’ve seen all year, Jamie Cox eventually decisioned Martin Fidel Rios.

Ref Phil Edwards should probably have disqualified both boxers (amusingly, a double DQ occured earlier in Rios’ career), and never had control of the bout, his frequent threats empty and toothless.

Most alarmingly, at one point Rios appeared to bite the shoulder of Cox, who retaliated with a blatant and quite vicious headbutt.

Both boxers were extremely dirty, but, to my eyes, Cox was the greater offender. No surprise though that the away boxer, Rios, was ultimately deduced the more points: 3 to Cox’s 2.

 

Elsewhere in the UK that night, Sam Eggington eventually wore down Frankie Gavin for an 8th round stoppage in a terrific fight.

However, in the 6th round, with Gavin on the verge of being stopped, ref Victor Loughlin gave him a standing 8 count, despite this being nowhere in the rulebook for bouts in a British ring.

What the hell was he doing? Thankfully it didn’t, but this stupidity could easily have changed the outcome.

 

Rian Scalia for BloodyElbow: “Fake fights & dangerous mismatches: Inside Argentina’s boxing underworld”:

http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2016/11/2/13482778/fake-fights-dangerous-mismatches-inside-the-underworld-argentina-boxing-feature-story

One of the most interesting boxing pieces I’ve read all year.

#TraffickingofHumanFlesh in the form of fabricated records, sham contests, corrupt conflicts of interest, a dirty Boxrec editor, gross safety hazards, and boxers fighting under the identities of other, deceased, fighters…sometimes against each other!

I’d say this was all hilarious if it wasn’t so disgustingly dangerous & money driven.

We already know that similar practices go on in Eastern European countries (and who knows where else), where boxers build up fake records so they can come to the UK & be bowled over.

Only in the wild west of fight sports.

I give credit to the Louisiana State Boxing and Wrestling Commission for stopping the Mason Menard contest referenced in the article from taking place. More commissions around the world should follow suit, rigorously fact-checking the context behind an import’s record, real or fake.

 

Speaking of sham contests, anyone going to this card in Georgia tomorrow?

http://boxrec.com/show/742202

Should be a good one.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (September 2016)

Felix Sturm is facing a potential 3 year prison sentence at the hands of German police due to a doping investigation opened in the aftermatch of his failed test stemming from the robbery rematch ‘win’ over Fedor Chudinov:

http://www.boxingscene.com/felix-sturm-faces-three-years-prison-over-doping-investigation–108501

That couldn’t have anything to do with why he recently moved away from Germany and back to his homeland of Bosnia, could it?

 

The Tyson and Hughie Fury hearing for their failed UKAD drug tests will be on November 4th.

It’s worth noting tht Team Fury still claim that the ankle injury (which forced the Klitschko bout’s penultimate cancellation) was legitimate and that they were informed of the provisional suspension less than an hour after they had announced publicly the postponement of the bout.

Team Fury further claim that, when first informed about the failed tests, they were told by UKAD that they had done nothing wrong and were given dietary information on foods which may contain nandralone.

We can only hope the truth of the matter becomes more clear in the aftermath of the hearing.

While it’s not relevant now in the wake of Tyson’s failed test for cocaine and the cancellation of the October 29th date (whether this was the real reason, or the claims of mental health problems are genuine), it is still crazy to me that the hearing was scheduled for after he would have been potentially allowed to fight again against Klitschko.

What in the hell would have happened if Fury had beaten Klitschko again, only to be found guilty of a doping offence from nearly two years prior & handed a ban?

 

Another piece of ignominious news worth noting is that UKAD testers were allegedly sent packing and told to “fuck off” without being allowed to collect a sample when they showed up at the Fury camp:

http://linkis.com/www.mirror.co.uk/spo/N9EJK

It seems this was a test that was sought to be conducted prior to the September 22nd cocaine failure under the aegis of VADA.

Will this refusal to submit to be tested play a part in the UKAD hearing?

 

Thomas Hauser continues to expose the incompetence of the New York State athletic commission:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/09/20/thomas-hauser-for-the-ring-turmoil-grows-at-the-nysac/

‘ [An] email, sent in the wake of the July 30 Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton card at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, read in part, “There are some instances that occurred this past weekend that are very concerning and will need to be addressed immediately. Hopefully, by sending this written communication to all, we can help prevent future mistakes and continually improve our operations.”

Among other things, the email declared (partly in solid capital letters and bold type), “NEVER LEAVE A FIGHTER ALONE FOR ANY REASON AFTER A PRE-FIGHT URINE HAS BEEN COLLECTED. This is one of the most basic and important rules to follow.”

That was followed by another declaration in solid capital letters and bold type: “NEVER TELL A BOXER OR CORNER THAT YOU ARE NEW OR YOU DON’T KNOW THE RULES. In any situation where you may be confused or where clarification is necessary, you should always remain calm and collected, and simply explain to the fighter and their corner that you need to discuss the matter with a supervisor.”

There was more.

“Everyone needs to understand the proper way to wrap a hand, as well as any incorrect methods that a corner may try to sneak past you. We only allow 6 inches of tape on the hand before wrapping; not on the wrists, not on the elbows, not on the fingers, not on the forearms. We also do not allow the knuckle pads to be rolled on the knuckles. They are to remain flat (if necessary, they can be folded in half).”

Bentley further admonished, “As an inspector, if you notice something that you think is being done incorrectly by another inspector, ask your colleague to step to the side and have a private conversation to discuss your concerns. You may be wrong, so to call a matter to the attention of a fighter or their camp (or even the opponent and their camp) is completely unprofessional and is equivalent to shouting ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded room.”

Problems like this arise when inspectors are poorly trained and assigned to fights on the basis of political priorities and personal favoritism rather than competence.’

 

Sept. 10th – Cathy Leonard’s 117-111 card was well off in the Roman Gonzalez-Carlos Cuadras 115lb. title fight.

 

The same can be said of Glen Hamada’s 117-111 for Lee Haskins in his rematch win over Stuart Hall, a fight that could have been scored either way.

 

Sept. 17th – In Gdansk, Poland, Patryk Szymanski was very fortunate to escape with the decision over the visiting Jose Antonio Villalobos.

Przemyslaw Moszumanski (95-94) and Andreas Stenberg (96-94) were the offending parties.

 

Sept. 24th – It was another bad night for officiating on a British card in the Anthony Crolla-Jorge Linares show.

Firstly, Guillermo Perez Pineda scored Jack Arnfield a 118-110 winner over John Ryder in an even fight.

Serial offender Terry O’Connor, as ref for the main event, repeatedly warned Linares for beltline ‘low blows’, usually at the prompting of Crolla himself, who stopped on multiple occasions and looked to O’Connor for help.

O’Connor happily obliged his countryman, causing Paulie Malignaggi on commentary to rightly blast him for “home cooking”.

In my opinion, it’s ridiculous that any world title bout can be refereed by someone from the same country as one of the particpants.

It’s yet another backwards practice in boxing that routinely invites bias and controversy.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (August 2016)

August 4th – Washed up heavyweight Odlanier Solis was allowed by the BDB, clearly an absolute joke of a commission, to begin his comeback against the 2-25 Milos Dovedan, with 22 knockout losses to his name.

Fat slob Solis took him out in two rounds, but this sort of sham contest is a disgrace to boxing.

Solis may be finished, but he’s a former Olympic champion for god’s sake. Dovedan shouldn’t be allowed to box, never mind fight someone of Solis’s elite background.

 

Incredible incompetence at play from Tom Hoover and others at the New York State athletic commission, as well as the political railroading of David Berlin, as reported by Thomas Hauser:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/08/14/thomas-hauser-for-ringtv-nysac-under-fire-the-federal-government-steps-in-parts-i-ii/

If this is what’s happening at one of the world’s biggest fight commissions, one wonders what happens where nobody is looking. An insight, perhaps, can be found in our look at the McMahon experience in Mexico a little later.

 

As also discussed by Hauser, the rise of mandatory insurance requirements in New York to the ludicrous $1m in the aftermatch of the Abdusalamov tragedy is threatening to kill boxing in New York, particularly at a grass roots level.

George Willis further expounds on this topic, arguing that it is a measure implemented to protect the state from liability, rather than to protect boxers:

http://nypost.com/2016/09/02/insurance-requirement-for-contact-sports-hides-ugly-reality/

 

Aug. 13th – Comrade Roy Jones Jr.’s latest bout in the neverending retirement tour took place in his hometown of Pensacola.

The opponent was of the Dovedan sort that should never have been sanctioned by the Florida boxing brass: a loser of 9 in a row, winless since 2002, named Rodney Moore.

It’s a testament to how far gone Roy is that it went the full ten.

 

In a statement from its president, Juan Carlos Pelayo, the Commission of Professional Boxing and Wrestling in Tijuana ruled that Antonio Margarito would not be required to pass any special medical exams on the state of his grotesquely disfigured eye prior to his bout with Ramon Alvarez.

The laughable reason given was that he had passed a supposedly “very rigourous study” undertaken by a Mexico City physician prior to the first fight of his sure to be disastrous comeback.

No concern was given to the tremendous punishment he absorbed in that fight, and any damage he may have accummulated in sparring since.

He escaped from his second return fight with a split decision.

 

Joe O’Neill of irish-boxing.com reports on the rather stunning set of circumstances that surrounded Christina McMahon’s controversial world title defeat to Zulina Munoz on March 12th:

http://www.irish-boxing.com/wbc-corruption-details-mcmahons-mexico-nightmare/#

Tainted gloves, suspect scoring, no check weigh-ins, lack of supervisors, lack of contractually-mandated anti-doping testers, and, after pressure from the McMahon team, urine samples collected in cotton bud containers and allegedly tested, if they were at all, in a lab without WADA certification.

So much for the WBC’s much-vaunted ‘clean boxing programme’.

 

Aug. 21st – Bernard Bruni’s 99-91 card didn’t do Shelley Vincent justice in her loss to Heather Hardy on the NBC-televised undercard of Errol Spence.

 

As one can already see, despite August being a light month for boxing, at least on the professional front, there was no shortage of controversy and incompetence to reflect on with the standard incredulity.

However, nothing was to compare to the absolute farce that was the 2016 Olympic boxing tournament.

Those in the know could see it coming a mile away, thanks to the reporting of Ognan Georgiev, and Owen Wilson et al of The Guardian:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/owen-gibson-for-the-guardian-olympic-boxing-tournament-hit-by-corruption-allegations/

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/the-guardian-olympic-boxing-corruption-alive-and-well-says-official-as-rows-continue/

 

Jake Donovan of Boxingscene sums the tournament’s judging up nicely:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/08/20/jake-donovan-of-boxingscene-on-the-olympic-scoring-controversies-because-thats-boxing-for-you/

 

The most publicized victim of the many robberies was Ireland’s Michael Conlan, whose gloriously frank live reaction went viral:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/video-michael-conlan-reacts-on-rte-to-olympic-robbery/

I was also pleased to see that RTE had a sense of humour about the situation:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/rte-asks-can-you-beat-nikitin/

 

Evgeny Tishchenko’s ‘win’ over Vassily Levit in the heavyweight gold medal match was the other result which drew the greatest ire.

Michael Gallagher, Armando Alvarado Carbonell and Kheira Yakoub Sidi were assigned to do the dirty work of their higher-ups.

Elsewhere, the Tony Yoka-Filip Hrgovic super heavyweight semi final was bad enough, with Mykola Karakulov and Jose Bonet conspiring to screw Hrgovic out of his rightful final spot for bouncing Yoka all over the ring.

However, the final was even worse, as Yoka was gifted gold despite a domination at the hands of Joe Joyce.

It doesn’t take a statistical overview to see who was the rightful winner, but Compubox estimates that Joyce outlanded Yoka by more than 2 to 1, tripling him in the power punch department:

http://www.worldboxingnews.net/2016/08/22/news/joyce-lands-double-yoka-s-punches-in-olympic-final-say-stats

Such obvious superiority wasn’t enough for the crooked pair of Emre Aydin and Roland Juhasz.

 

The International Olympic Committee show no signs of stepping in and seriously investigating the rampant bribes, bought and paid for medals, fixed draws & assignment of judges, therefore the corruption overseen by president Wu Ching-kuo of AIBA will continue unabated.

Anybody that takes amateur boxing, or semi-pro codes like the World Series of Boxing (WSB), seriously needs their head examined.

I certainly won’t be watching again, not in four years or forty.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (July 2016)

July 1st – In a clash of super featherweights, Sebastian Diaz was held to an unjust draw against Carlos Ruiz in the latter’s hometown of Mexico City.

Unfortunately, I am unable to find the names of the offending officials who turned in the 96-94 & 95-95 cards.

 

July 8th – In a modicum of justice, the EBU have reacted to the BDB’s licensing of drug cheat Erkan Teper before the end of his official ban, by removing their status as a “full member” of the governing body.

They’re sufficiently toothless to do much more at this stage but at least it’s something.

Full details in Per Ake Persson’s report: http://www.boxingscene.com/ebu-likely-due-tepers-return-drop-bdb-full-member–106522

 

July 15th – Whatever passes for a Mississippi commission had no qualms with licensing prospect Joey Bryant to fight, at late notice, a 0-20-1 opponent named Anthony Woods.

Woods had suffered 13 knockout losses and duly fell over in the 2nd round. Mismatches of this gross nature should never be allowed.

 

July 16th – Ref Reece Carter ignored several big rabbit punches delivered by Joe Pigford to Sam Omidi, which ultimately led to the 4th round stoppage.

 

In the night’s main event in Cardiff, Terry O’Connor failed to call a clear first round knockdown for Liam Williams over Gary Corcoran in their grudge match.

O’Connor is a serial offender and needs to be put out to pasture.

 

In India, Vijender Singh enjoyed a successful homecoming, outpointing veteran Kerry Hope.

However, Ian Scott’s 100-90 card wasn’t an accurate reflection of Hope’s success in the bout.

 

In Germany, a contender for robbery of the year unfolded, as Giovanni De Carolis was held to a draw against prospect Tyron Zeuge in a fight he appeared to win widely.

Levi Martinez (114-114), Juan Manuel Garcia Reyes (114-114) &  Erkki Meronen (114-115) were the ones behind this scoring fiasco.

 

On the undercard, Anthony Ogogo battered journeyman Bronislav Kubin in two rounds, in a fight that should have been stopped at least a minute earlier than it was by ref Gerhard Sigl.

You know it’s bad when the attacking fighter shakes his head and takes a moment to gesture to the referee to stop the punishment.

 

In Alabama, Sammy Vasquez was allowed to egregiously hold throughout his fight with Felix Diaz by ref Keith Hughes.

Thankfully, Diaz eventually got the decision he deserved, but only after enduring the confusion of the bout initially being announced as a draw due to a commission member who forgot to factor in a point deduction.

Such professionalism.

 

July 23rd – Jose Benavidez scraped home against Francisco Santana, in a fight that could have been scored either way.

Not that the judges saw it that way, scoring it unanimously.

Glenn Feldman’s 98-92 was very bad.

Adalaide Byrd’s 100-90 card is as bad as I’ve ever seen. She should never be allowed to judge again.

 

July 25th – The New York State Athletic Commission was blasted by a report released by State inspector general, Catherine Leahy Scott into the Magomed Abdusalamov tragedy.

Details here, in a summary by William Weinbaum:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/17141610/investigation-rips-new-york-state-athletic-commission-handling-tragic-magomed-abdusalamov-bout

“The report said the NYSAC chair at the time of the Abdusalamov bout, Melvina Lathan, ‘failed to ensure appropriate and routine review of Athletic Commission policies and procedures, and failed to train staff on the proper response to medical issues that may arise after a fight.’ And the probe found Lathan and her staff received improper gifts from promoters.

The investigation concluded that her successor, Thomas Hoover, provided free passes to friends and family for boxing matches and knowingly recommended an unqualified person for a commission job, among other inappropriate actions.”

Hoover resigned upon the release of the report.

NYSAC chief medical officer Barry Jordan, and Matt Farrago, the NYSAC inspector for the bout assigned to Abdusalamov, also received some blame for Abdusalamov’s fate and that of his family, who are now dealing with well over $2m in medical fees.

It gets worse, though:

“The Abdusalamov family is suing Jordan and the four athletic commission doctors assigned to the fight, as well as the referee and Farrago, alleging recklessness, gross negligence and medical malpractice. The state in turn sued five of Abdusalamov’s former handlers — two of whom have had their cases dismissed.”

http://www.espn.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/13136189/new-york-state-sues-magomed-abdusalamov-handlers

“The lawsuit says if there were insufficient care from the state athletic commission’s medical team that night, then the handlers were at fault, too…

Paul Edelstein, attorney for the Abdusalamov family, told [ESPN]: ‘The lead doctor for the entire state says if anything went wrong that night, it’s the fault of these five guys, two of whom weren’t even in his corner. That’s adding insult to injury.'”

Disgusting stuff.

 

July 30th – Howard Foster and Ian-John Lewis’s 115-113 cards in the Tyrone Nurse-Tommy Coyle fight were far too close for comfort in a fight that Nurse appeared to win widely.

 

Another special trainer’s shoutout to Packie Collins, still intent on getting his boxers hurt by sending Patrick Hyland out for the 9th round against Josh Warrington when he had absolutely nothing left.

Has he learned nothing from the beating he allowed Frank Buglioni to absorb from Fedor Chudinov last year?

 

Carl Frampton’s excellent win over Leo Santa Cruz could really have been scored either way.

Tom Schreck’s 117-111 was a disservice to Santa Cruz.

 

The Olympic boxing is underway in Rio and some outstanding work by Ognan Georgiev for FightNews.com explains why you shouldn’t take the tournament all that seriously:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/ognian-georgiev-for-fightnews-on-deep-corruption-in-amateur-boxing-the-price-of-an-olympic-quota/

Flagrant corruption from top to bottom, including crooked judges, fixed draws, bribes to ensure medal quotas are met and god knows what else.

This should be a bigger story.

 

In the aftermath of his failed drug test, and being stripped of the WBA’s “regular” heavyweight trinket, Lucas Browne is suing the WBA in order to get his title back.

I don’t know what his legal argument is, but it sure seems to have put fear into the hearts of the money-grubbing WBA, who, as a means of placating Browne into dropping his lawsuit, are set to allow him to face the awful and shot Fres Oquendo for the now vacant bauble: http://tinyurl.com/z96qm2x

After all, they did allow Luis Ortiz to fight again for their interim belt one fight after he’d been stripped of that same belt for a positive test. Might as well be consistent!

And now the cheaters know that if you create a big enough stink, you will get your way with the spineless sanctioning bodies.

 

The British Boxing Board of Control have decided to implement a rule that makes absolutely no sense: http://www.boxingnewsonline.net/bbbofc-adopt-fresh-stance-on-failed-drug-tests-in-britain/

Basically, if a fighter fails a drug test in the aftermath of a bout, the result will be changed to a ‘no contest’ regardless of who won.

So, if a boxer manages to beat an enhanced opponent, he will be robbed of the win, and, in a title fight, presumably the title he has (doubly) earned.

I’d love to know their reasoning behind this bullshit. The rule will come into effect starting on September 1st.

 

After what’s been an ugly summation of the month of July in boxing, let’s end on a positive note, and one that brings new meaning to ‘Judging the Judges’.

Let’s hear it for Judge Robert Ruehlman, who put Broner in the slammer for 30 days after he turned up three hours late for the start of his trial for assault and robbery stemming from an incident at a Cincinnati bowling alley:

http://www.badlefthook.com/2016/3/24/11301278/adrien-broner-accused-of-violent-armed-robbery

After Broner’s bullshit excuses for turning up late had been heard, and looking in a dishevelled state, this judge wasn’t messing around:

“It’s not a good excuse. He looks like he’s drunk or hungover. To coin a little boxing phrase – you’re not ducking this one.”

To make this even funnier, Ruehlman told Broner that he had considered dismissing the charges against him if he had appeared in court on time.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (Special Edition: The Tyson Fury Situation)

Last November, in arguably the biggest major-fight upset in recent years, Tyson Fury decisioned the second longest reigning heavyweight titlist of all time, Wladimir Klitschko, to improbably ascend to the top of the division.

A man who was once seen as lumbering, out of shape and lacking stamina had proven that he could box on the outside like no 6ft 8″ man before him, and that his “too fast” moniker was more than just self-deprecating humour.

But, other than a great tactical gameplan, what was behind the transformation?

Now we know that Fury, and his cousin Hughie (one of the heavyweight division’s top prospects), tested positive for nandralone, a classic anabolic steroid, in February of 2015, information initially leaked by the Sunday Mirror on June 26th of this year.

The test was carried out by United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD), an organization whose reputation was recently damaged by their inaction in the case of informant tip-offs regarding Dr. Mark Bonar’s illicit activities with top sport stars.

As I will elucidate below, further inaction has marked their handling of this case.

The Furys have taken aggressive action and decided to sue UKAD, claiming that their position is strengthened by at least two subsequent negative tests in the following months, as well as testing clean in whatever testing surrounded the Klitschko fight. They also claim that UKAD informed them that the positive test was likely the result of a contaminated dietary supplement.

“The two boxers strenuously deny taking any performance-enhancing drugs,” said Fury lawyer Lewis Power.

“However, during the last five weeks leaks about these charges have appeared in the press and both boxers have been the targets of continual abusive language on Twitter.”

There are so many unanswered questions here, that I don’t even know where to begin.

If the positive test was in February 2015, why did it take UKAD until June 24, 2016 to “provisionally” suspend the Furys & prevent them from boxing?

Tyson fought twice in that time span, and Hughie 5 or 6 times. How could this have been allowed when UKAD knew they had a positive test on their hands?

What was being done in all that wasted 16 months, and what did any investigation undertaken by UKAD into the Furys’ case reveal?

It comes down to results management, and the expediting of drug test results is more important in fight sports than anywhere else.

UKAD have since lifted their provisional suspension, theoretically allowing the Furys to continue to box, pending a future hearing.

To quote from their statement: “The UK Anti-Doping Rules allow athletes to challenge the imposition of a Provisional Suspension and [we] today lifted the athletes’ suspensions, pending full determination of the charges. These charges will be heard at a hearing before the NADP in due course”.

Under what reasoning was an end to the provisional suspension granted?

Why is a hearing needed to determine if an anti-doping violation has occurred? What is it about this particular case that doesn’t match with the standard ‘positive A & B samples equal a ban’ equation?

Will such a hearing take place before the all-important Klitschko rematch, tentatively scheduled for late October?

If, at this hearing, an anti-doping violation is confirmed to have occurred, will Klitschko’s loss be overturned and the titles stripped from Tyson?

What we do know is that the Team Fury have already lied on at least two occasions surrounding these positives. Firstly, claiming an ankle injury as a reason to delay the Klitschko rematch, announcing as such on the very day the provisional ban came into place. Quite a coincidence.

They also lied on June 26th, releasing statements saying they were “baffled” at the doping rumours in the press, when in fact they knew they had been suspended two days prior.

 

What a mess.

Between this case, and the test failures of Alexander Povetkin, Erkan Teper, Lucas Browne, Tony Thompson & Luis Ortiz, I have about as much faith in the cleanliness of the heavyweight division as I do the 100m sprint.

And that’s not even getting into a discussion of the suspiciously gargantuan physiques of some of the other top guys in the division.

 

EDIT 16/9: Team Fury still claim that the ankle injury was legitimate and that they were informed of the provisional suspension less than an hour after they had announced publicly the posponement of the bout.

At this point, as the rematch has been made official for October 29th, it is unclear whether the UKAD hearing on the tests will take place after the bout, or expedited to before it. The latter is quite obviously the only sensible option.

Team Fury further claim that, when first informed about the failed tests, they were informed by UKAD that they had done nothing wrong and were given dietary information on foods which may contain nandralone.

We can only hope the truth of the matter becomes more clear in the aftermath of the hearing.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (June 2016)

June 3rd – Rances Barthelemy luckily wasn’t affected by the rancid Hilton Whitaker Jr.’s 110-117 card en route to his easy win over Mickey Bey.

 

June 4th – Raul Caiz Sr. pulled a Pat Russell by stopping the first round of the Francisco Vargas-Orlando Salido war ten seconds early at the sound of the clapper.

Fortunately, there was enough action elsewhere in the bout to make up for the deficit.

 

On the undercard, Abraham Lopez-Julian Ramirez resulted in a controversial decision, as most every observer saw Ramirez as the clear winner.

Judges Max DeLuca (97-93), Carla Caiz (97-93), & Fernando Villarreal (98-92) saw things exactly the opposite.

 

June 10th – Lucien Reid’s thrashing of journeyman Trayan Slavev was stopped a full minute too late by ref/sadist-in-training Kieran McCann.

 

June 25th – David Benavidez-Francy Ntetu ended in bizarre fashion, with ref Shada Murtaugh calling a halt to matters suddenly after a period of Ntetu success and with the fighter in no visible distress.

Some good reporting from Boxingscene’s David Greisman sheds further light on the matter:

http://www.boxingscene.com/nysac-doctor-explains-controversial-benavidez-ntetu-stoppage–106104

 

June 28th – Longtime fringe contender Edner Cherry appeared to lose an upset to unknown Haskell Rhodes, only to be saved by the cards of Kevin Morgan (98-92), John Poturaj (97-93), & Steve Weisfeld (97-93).

 

Disgraced Erkan Teper returned to fight Derric Rossy on July 3rd.

But how was this allowed to happen after his 2 year ban for PED use going back to his knockout of David Price last July (as well as the police raid on his home that uncovered vast amounts of PEDs, something that has seemingly gone unpunished)?

More details of his ban can be found here:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2015/12/27/named-shamed-judging-the-judges-january-2016/

The answer once again lies in the eternally fractured state of boxing’s regulatory structure, as Germany’s boxing commission (BDB) are under no obligation to honour the EBU’s ban.

Check out the asinine reasoning offered by BDB president Thomas Puetz for their decision:

http://www.boxingscene.com/erkan-teper-details-return-explained-by-bdb-president–106373

Does anyone think a fine, random testing & a last-chance probationary stance is enough of a punishment, or enough of a justification to not honour the EBU’s ban?

Thankfully, Rossy wasn’t hurt in a ten round decision loss, but what about Teper’s next opponent?

If there was any justice in boxing, Teper would never be allowed to fight again after what he’s done.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (May 2016)

New Jersey’s boxing boss Larry Hazzard must be commended for this simple addition to referee protocol once a boxer has been knocked down:

http://www.boxingscene.com/nj-changes-how-referees-assess-hurt-fighters-knockdowns–104270

 

May 6th – Pablo Cesar Cano got comfortably beaten by Alan Sanchez in the view of everyone except veteran Nevada judge Dave Moretti, who saw Cano an improbable 96-94 winner.

Thankfully, the other two judges ruled correctly in favour of Sanchez.

 

May 7th – Ref Manuel Oliver Palomo put in one of the year’s worst displays, allowing Kubrat Pulev to flagrantly hold throughout his European title win against a livid Dereck Chisora.

It was the worst case of blindness in the face of interminable holding I can remember seeing since Klitschko-Povetkin.

In part due to his fouls, Pulev coasted to a wide win, only to almost be denied by one of the year’s worst cards, Beat Hausammann’s 115-113 in favour of Chisora.

 

Later that night in Vegas, Canelo Alvarez recovered from an early deficit to brutally knock out Amir Khan in the sixth round.

Khan had boxed impressively to that point, but a look at the scorecards suggests the judges were watching something different.

Glenn Trowbridge (49-46) & Glenn Feldman (48-47) must have been wearing ginger-tinted spectacles.

 

May 13th – Dusty Hernandez-Harrison got a gift on his homecoming, escaping with a draw in a fight he clearly lost against veteran trialhorse Mike Dallas Jr.

The incompetence of Tammye Jenkins (95-94) & Wayne Smith (94-94) ensured that the Washington prospect kept his ‘0’.

 

May 14th – 130lber Carlos Diaz Ramirez outpointed ex-prospect Roberto Marroquin over 10, but it was a hard-fought fight, a fact not reflected by the 98-91 card of one judge, whose name I cannot find out at this time.

 

May 21st – Long praised for his fan-friendly style of officiating, Steve Smoger is fast becoming one of boxing’s most dangerous referees, more interested in keeping the action flowing than protecting the boxers when they are defenceless (think Kirkland-Tapia or Lebedev-Jones Jr.).

The latest example was his late stoppage of the Denis Lebedev-Victor Emilio Ramirez cruiserweight title unification, as Smoger allowed Ramirez to absorb another 10-15 seconds of unnecessary punishment with his body bent in half, gloves grazing the canvas, before he turned away, an obvious sign of his surrender that still did not immediately signal the stoppage.

There are only so many times a ref can ignore the obvious before everybody’s luck runs out.

 

A bad point deduction from Vanes Martirosyan for a beltline body shot in round 11 could have cost the challenger in his rematch with Erislandy Lara.

Thankfully, Vic Drakulich’s mistake didn’t affect the eventual scoring of a fight that appeared to be a toss-up.

 

May 28th – Arthur Villanueva knocked out Juan Jiminez in the fourth round, but with a vicious clash of heads rather than a punch.

Jiminez was out for several minutes and wouldn’t have been pleased on regaining his senses to learn that ref Dan Nietes ruled him the knockout loser.

 

Worrying news has surfaced that the governing body of world amateur boxing, AIBA, are under investigation from the World Anti-Doping Agency for conducting zero out of competition blood tests in 2015, and “virtually none” in the past 3 years:

http://www.boxingscene.com/wada-meet-with-aiba-shocking-allegations-over-drug-testing–105105

 

This Ring Magazine article from Mitch Abrahamson is worth reading in full:

http://tinyurl.com/gvrl4gw

It details the departure of David Berlin as the head of the New York commission, and shocking allegations of improper conduct Berlin levels at commission chairman Tom Hoover.

To quote from the piece:

“Among the incidents that Berlin says he reported to the Inspector General’s office were…Hoover’s putting his son on a Commission credential list under a pseudonym for a boxing event at Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center ‘in order to secure his son’s free entry to the arenas.’

Berlin also said in the letter he told the Inspector General’s Office that Hoover had directed someone he knew personally to be ‘licensed as a professional boxing judge, despite the fact that the individual had no prior experience in the sport.’ Berlin says he rescinded the judge’s license of the ‘clearly unqualified individual,’ he wrote. Hoover could not be reached for comment on Thursday to discuss the allegations and the IG’s office didn’t return a call for comment.”

Named & Shamed: Judging the Judges (April 2016)

February 19th – Belatedly caught a February Shobox card and had to air some gripes.

John Magda clearly lost to Christopher Brooker but it was judged a majority decision due to the incompetent even card of Donald Givens.

Givens was banned by the New Jersey commission and didn’t judge for four years for his hand in screwing Erislandy Lara in his high profile fight with Paul Williams.

So much for rehabilitation.

 

The main event of Adam Lopez vs. Mario Munoz appeared to these eyes a draw, but the cards (Ron McNair 97-93, Eugene Grant 98-92, George Hill 98-92) never gave the visiting Munoz a chance.

 

In last month’s edition (https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/named-shamed-judging-the-judges-march-2016/), I thrashed Lloyd Scaife for the worst card of the year in the Ortiz-Thompson fight.

Some excellent follow-up work from Boxingscene’s David Greisman sheds further surreal light on the matter: http://tinyurl.com/jdnvv44

The entire situation reads like a bad joke, and, sympathy for Scaife’s condition and all-too human error aside, it’s further evidence that nobody in their 80s should be allowed to judge a boxing match.

 

April 2nd – The Scott Cardle-Sean Dodd rematch managed to end in almost as much controversy as their first meeting, as the judges this time ruled it a draw.

However, I must admit that, while widespread sympathy seemed to lie with the non-establishment underdog Dodd, I thought that it was a perfectly fair decison and that Cardle deserved to hold onto his British title.

 

My mood soon changed though, as Christopher Rebrasse was thoroughly robbed against Rocky Fielding by the 114-113 scores of Juergen Langos & Daniel Van de Wiele.

 

April 8th – Bizarre stuff as usual in Russia, as ref Alexander Kalinkin (found culpable in this segment before) stopped the fight between Sergey Kuzmin and Konstantin Airich in the second round, but then changed his mind after mild protestation from Airich.

He stopped the fight for a second, and thankfully final, time moments later after a further barrage.

It made Ian John-Lewis look positively decisive.

 

April 9th – Ref Bob Williams allowed Ohara Davies to hold his glove without punching, Klitschko-style, in front of the face of Andy Keates for the duration of their fight without issuing a single warning.

 

Matthew Macklin can count himself a lucky boy.

Steve Gray did his best to help the veteran during his contest with Brian Rose by stopping the action with Macklin under pressure in the 11th, and then undeservingly docking a point from Rose for holding in the 12th.

Then Marcus McDonnell & Patrick Morley completed the job with BS 115-111 cards that denied Rose his victory, and barely kept Macklin’s career alive.

 

Marcus McDonnell’s night of incompetence continued when he almost disqualified Eric Hunter for basically no reason during his fight with Lee Selby, obviously influenced unduly by Hunter’s prior reputation of having been disqualified twice before.

Hunter lost widely, but had little chance of a fair shake from this referee.

 

April 16th – Ventsislav Nikolov’s 120-107 score was an absolute disgrace to the respectable challenge offered to John Warrington by the visiting Hisashi Amagasa.

How hard is it to get a good decision in the UK these days?

 

The Marcus Browne-Radivoje Kalajdzic fight in New York was another mess.

Firstly, a clear slip was ruled a knockdown in the opening round. Even the ref, Tony Chiarantano, seemed to acknowledge this with his comment of “you fell down” to Kalajdzic after he had risen. But still, a count was given and a crucial point deducted from his score.

Waleska Roldan (76-74) & Alan Rubenstein (76-75) ensured that the house fighter Browne escaped with the robbery decision.

 

April 30th – Marcus McDonnell’s nightmare month ended by being grossly late to stop the Anthony Yarde-Tzvetozar Iliev bout, which allowed Iliev to be badly knocked out and stretchered from the ring.

Thankfully, McDonnell missing an obvious knockdown scored by Anthony Nelson in round 7 of his war with Jamie Conlan couldn’t detract from, or change the result of, a top fight of the year contender.

 

VADA once again prove they’re the only testing agency worth taking seriously by catching Fernando Vargas for clenbuterol use in the lead-up to his highly-anticipated fight with Orlando Salido.

But will this stop the fight from going ahead?

Not in the world of boxing, where common sense never prevails and money dictates everything.

Boxingscene’s Jake Donovan reports on the full details of the California Commission’s resolution here: http://www.boxingscene.com/francisco-vargas-granted-temporary-license-submit-additional-testing–104011

Basically, Vargas will submit to supposedly thorough testing by the Commission from now until the fight, and only if he fails again, will he be punished and the fight cancelled.

Andy Foster and the other boobs in charge want us to believe that they lend credence to the now-routine excuse for cluenbuterol in one’s system: contamination through eating beef.

“We can’t and we won’t sanction a dirty fighter” says Foster, when that’s exactly what’s being done.

Laughable, and needless to say, I now have little interest in this Vargas-Salido freakshow.

Again, David Greisman provided further insight: http://www.boxingscene.com/fighting-words-on-francisco-vargas-positive-drug-test–104112

Named & Shamed: Judging the Judges (March 2016)

March 5th – Boxing’s latest visit to ‘dear old dirty’ Grozny, to paraphrase James Joyce via Steve Bunce, was always sure to produce some dodgy officiating.

Apri Ushtarkhanov stopped stopped Thomas Mashali after almost 4 minutes of the second round. No, that’s not a typo.

Ref Alexander Kalinkin also allowed the fight to continue when Mashali clearly was begging for a way out and not responding to instructions to step forward after collapsing to the canvas in a heap. He took some unnecessary punches as a result, all when he should have been enjoying his minute’s rest in the corner.

Home boxer Viskhan Murzabekov was upset by veteran Ali Funeka on a split decision. Sergey Litunov’s dissenting 117-111 card was openly biased.

The Browne-Chagaev heavyweight bauble main event was marred by a shoddy timekeeper.

With Browne dropped & hurt, 10 to 15 seconds were added at the end of the 6th, in hopes of Chagaev finishing the job, and once Browne had reasserted himself in round 7, the bell rang approximately 44 seconds early.

Laughable stuff. Browne eventually scored the upset win.

The foreigner’s subsequent failed VADA drug test is another matter, one which may be discussed here later once a decision has been come to by the sanctioning body etc.

 

A strange night too in Washington, as the Jessie Vargas-Sadam Ali vacant title fight at welterweight was marred by ref Tony Chevalier.

To quote Tim Starks of the Queensberry Rules: Chevalier was guilty of “missing a knockdown, pulling Vargas off Ali for no reason, not noticing that Vargas’ corner was waving a white towel, deciding to stop it at an odd moment, etc. etc.”

Worst card of the year? D.C. judge Lloyd Scaife’s effort in the Luis Ortiz-Tony Thompson (the home fighter) main event was quite unbelievable.

He scored round 1 just 10-9 for Ortiz, even though he dropped Thompson. He scored the 5th round for Thompson, even though Ortiz clearly dominated it. Worst of all, he scored the 3rd round 10-9 for Thompson, even though he was the the fighter to hit the deck in that stanza.

Hometown judging has been brought to a new level. Ortiz easily won by 6th round stoppage.

The D.C. commission investigated Scaife’s abomination, but it is unknown what their eventual determination was.

 

March 12th – Marcus McDonnell’s 115-112 card saw the Flanagan-Mathews 135lb. title bout way too close.

To these eyes, it was a virtual shutout.

 

In Mexico, Junior Granados escaped with a robbery split decision over Aston Palicte.

Victor Ortiz Lara (97-93) & Max Ruiz (97-94) were the offenders.

 

March 18th – Dive scandal in Ukraine: http://www.boxingscene.com/ukrainian-dive-scandal-golovkos-win-removed-kuts-gets-ban–102852

Pleased to see the Ukranian National League of Professional Boxing take appropriate action.

 

March 20th – Was initially pleased to see that the Arizona State Boxing & MMA Commission were dubious about licensing the ‘Roy Jones Jr. vs. a fan’ farce that took place last month: http://ringtv.craveonline.com/news/412445-roy-jones-jr-would-have-to-fight-a-pro-not-a-random-fan

However, ultimately, somebody convinced them to go along with it, as Roy blasted out a novice MMA fighter in two rounds on his pro boxing debut.

Talk about toothless…and I’m not referring to old man Roy.

 

March 26th – Ref Steve Gray was too slow to react & pause the action when Zoltan Sera’s arm got stuck in the ropes in the 4th round of his fight with Adam Etches.

This lack of attentiveness hastened Etches’ victory, as Sera was dropped (although a knockdown rightly wasn’t ruled) and given scant time to recover afterwards.

 

The Eubank Jr.-Blackwell British title fight brought near tragedy, as the beating Blackwell suffered meant he had to be put into an induced coma for the week following the contest.

This article is being written in early April, so, with the benefit of hindsight, we know now that Blackwell thankfully didn’t have to suffer through an operation & is awake and able to talk to friends and family. Hopefully he will be able to regain all of his faculties and live a full life.

On the matter at hand, the referee Victor Loughlin, other ringside officials and even Blackwell’s corner team have received much criticism for not stopping the fight sooner, but, to these eyes, that is a case of convenient ’20/20 hindsight’.

While way behind on the cards, Blackwell was always fighting back and there was no single moment, until the eye injury flared up, that one could say Loughlin absolutely should have stepped in.

I don’t think the blame can be placed on the referee or anybody else, and that the fight simply illustrates the dangers inherent in this sport. Blackwell being awake and lucid now is a credit to the modern professionalism of the ringside medical team and those at the hospital that he was swiftly transported to.

 

Prichard Colon, victim of head trauma during his October bout with Terrel Williams, was not so fortunate.

He remains in a coma today, and a Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation report into the matter is illustrative: http://ringtv.craveonline.com/news/415163-virginia-spokesperson-admits-flaws-in-prichard-colon-investigation?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=virginia-spokesperson-admits-flaws-in-prichard-colon-investigation

Ref Joe Cooper, infamous for his botched handling of the Khan-Peterson fight in 2011, and ringside doctor Richard Ashby were both found to have committed errors during the fight, but were found to be officially not at fault for Colon’s injuries.

Furthermore, they would be unable to be held accountable anyway due to their nebulous status as “contract vendors”. The only scant consolation is that Cooper is likely to never ref a fight in this jurisdiction again.

Once more, toothless.

What a tragic mess.