By Eric Armit
Josh Taylor’s win over Jack Catterall was certainly controversial and a great deal was made of the British Boxing Board of Control stating they would be investigating the scoring. That is overstressing the BBB of C’s decision. It is standard practice for the Board to investigate any very controversial incident be it scoring or some other matter. I scored Catterall the winner by 114-111 but many rounds were close and at times a lack of activity in some rounds meant just one or two punches were the difference. The judge’s scores were Ian John Lewis 114-111 for Taylor, Victor Laughlin 113-112 for Taylor and Howard Foster 113-112 for Catterall. Ian John Lewis is being pilloried for his score as if it was way out of line with the other judges and yet the difference between the score from Ian John Lewis and that of Victor Laughlin was the equivalent of them scoring just one round different and both Laughlin and Foster had them even after eleven rounds with Laughlin scoring the last round 10-9 for Taylor and Foster 10-9 for Catterall. Again just one round difference so Ian John Lewis was not way out of line from Laughlin and Foster so three highly qualified judges saw this as a very close fight. I disagreed with Ian John Lewis but then I also disagreed with Victor Laughlin and Howard Foster which it seems means I was right and they were wrong but when I compare their experience of scoring fights to my own than I have to be ready to admit perhaps they were right and I was wrong. Scoring in boxing is purely subjective and based on individual perception and as long as the human element is involved there will always be differing views and controversy. There are split decisions and majority decisions every week in boxing for instance on one weekend in February in Argentina one judge had Kevin Acevedo beating Javier Herrera 99-93 and another had it 95-95, in California one judge had Horacio Garcia beating Isaac Zarate 80-72 and one judge had it 76-76, best or worst of all in Russia two judges had Ivan Kozlovsky beating Zoravor Petrosian 96-94 and the third had Petrosian winning 99-91. The higher the profile of the fight the louder the roars of rage when the majority disagree with the judges scoring. I wonder how many fans actually don’t score a fight round by round. If you don’t then you are yourself judging just by “perception” over the whole span of twelve rounds and saying who you thought won which is about as subjective as it gets. Ian John Lewis, Victor Laughlin and Howard Foster are honest and very experienced judges. Even as a Scot I thought they got the scoring in this one wrong but with my 114-111 for Catterall score I was only one round different from Foster’s razor thin 113-112 for Catterall so with scores that close it would be hypocritical of me to claim Catterall was robbed. He deserves a return but that won’t happen. The WBA have already mandated Taylor to defend against Dominican Alberto Puello
Anyone who is involved in boxing or has watched boxing for any length of time will know that these controversial decisions are commonplace so it is ridiculous to see the Speaker of the House of Parliament referring the Taylor vs. Catterall result to both the Government and the police for investigation. Catterall just happened to be one of his constituents. What a totally ridiculous waste of Parliament’s time when there is a far more important business such as a war in Ukraine for the United Kingdom Parliament to deal with and it is stupid to think that the police would be better able to investigate boxing scoring that the BBB of C. Someone should report Sir Lindsay Hoyle for wasting police time.
Politician’s taking up cases of controversial scoring is not new in boxing. When James Toney outpointed Dave Tiberi in a defence of his IBF middleweight title in 1992 the scoring was 115-112 twice for Toney and 117-111 for Tiberi. The result caused uproar and a US Senator called for an investigation into boxing. Of course the decision was not changed but some of the anomalies revealed in the investigation were contributing factors towards the introduction of the Muhammad Ali Act.
Mention of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine it is having its effect on boxing. Obviously high profile boxers or ex-boxers such as Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, Oleksandr Usyk and Vasyl Lomachenko have been mentioned in reference to the war but it also has implications for all Ukrainian and Russian boxers. A couple of examples are Russian bantamweight Nikolai Potapov being removed by the EBU from his role as mandatory challenger to Lee McGregor and replaced by Spaniard Sebastian Perez and Anna Levina removed ex-officio as co-challenger for the vacant EBU Female light flyweight title. Travel restrictions and logistic problems also affect Ukrainians and Olek Zakhozhyi has been temporarily removed as co-challenger for the vacant EEU Heavyweight title.
There could also be implications for Russian boxers based abroad as the conflict continues. There are Russians based in both the USA and Canada and it is hard to know how the public will react to them continuing their careers there and of course both Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol could be affected. Wladimir Klitschko has insisted that Bivol’s defence of his WBA title against Saul Alvarez in Las Vegas on 7 May should not go ahead dumping a decision in the laps of the WBA and DAZN as to whether they will support the banning of Russian boxers. If the war continues then Sergey Kovalev’s proposed return to action against unbeaten Tervel Pulev in May could be in jeopardy. Some declaration of opposition to the invasion of Ukraine might appease the public. Nothing is certain except uncertainty.
The trial is beginning in Puerto Rico of five suspects in the murder of Hector “Macho” Camacho back in 2012. Camacho and a friend were sitting in car outside a bar when they were shot. Two of the men arrested were extradited from jail in Florida and two others who were implicated were killed in separate incidents some time previously.
Looks like a busy time ahead for the Charlo twins. The WBO have ordered that IBF/WBA/WBC super welter title holder Jermell’s unification match with WBO title holder Bryan Castano has to take place before 14 May and negotiations have begun for Jermall to defend his WBC middleweight title against Jaime Munguia.
Kevin Lerena will continue his heavyweight campaign by facing Bogdan Dinu in Kempton Park on 26 March. Fourteen months of inactivity has cost Lerena his world rating but a win over Dinu should get him back in the picture. On the same show Juan Rous will be defending his national heavyweight title against Josh Pretorius with the vacant ABU title also on the line.
Jordan Gill certainly sprang an upset when he came off the floor and from behind on points to kayo European featherweight champion Kamil Guerfi in the ninth round on 27 February. This was a voluntary defence for Guerfi so the EBU has already nominated Mauro Forte as his mandatory challenger with the parties in private negotiation period.
France’s Dylan Charrat (20-1-1) and Germany’s Jama Saidi (21-2) are co-challengers for the vacant EBU super welterweight title. Charrat’s promoter won the purse bidding with a figure of EU 77,797 (£65,000/ $ 85,450). It looks another excellent European title fight.
It looks like there are a couple of rematches pending. The WBA has ordered a rematch between Michel Soro and Israil Madrimov. In their eliminator in December Madrimov shook Soro badly very late in the ninth round. Neither Madrimov nor the referee heard the bell go and as Madrimov continued to unload on Soro the referee stopped the fight. Former IBF super flyweight title holder Jerwin Ancajas has said he will activate the return clause in the contract with Fernando Martinez who decisioned Ancajas last month.
Ghana always stages a boxing match to celebrate the country’s independence. This year for the 65th anniversary of independence on 6 March veteran George Ashie 33-5-1 floored unbeaten 20-1 Robert Quaye twice on the way to an eighth round kayo victory and collected the IBF Continental Africa title. In another bout Nigerian Oto Joseph beat Ghanaian Tackie Annan but Ghana’s veteran female boxer Yarkor Chavez was stopped in the first round by Zambian Lolita Muzeya.
Sad to hear of the death of Ron “The Butcher” Stander. Ron put together 1 23-1-1 record before losing in four rounds against Joe Frazier in a challenge for the WBA and WBC heavyweight titles in 1972. He went on to face all of the big names around then fighting Jeff Merritt, Rodney Bobick, Ken Norton, Gerrie Coetzee, Boone Kirkman, Scott LeDoux, Scott Frank and James Tillis finishing with a37-21-3 record. He was 77.
Some sad news from Indonesia was the reported death of lightweight Hero Tito-real name Heru Putwanto-who after being knocked out in seven rounds in a fight for the vacant Indonesian title in Jakarta on 27 February underwent brain surgery and died on 3 March at the age of 35. An experienced fighter with a 29-17-2 record Putwanto had only been beaten on KO/TKO five times previously. In 2001 the WBC became so concerned with safety standards in boxing in Indonesia that it imposed a six month ban of Indonesian boxers fighting in WBC sanctioned bouts outside the country and the Indonesian Boxing Association had tightened up their safety regulations since then.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features