Contender officials take punches from critics - Quality of officiating in popular TV boxing series questioned
President of the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control (JBBC) Stephen 'Bomber' Jones has defended officials of the Wray and Nephew Contender Series. The officials have come in for heavy criticism from several local boxing stakeholders, who have voiced concerns about the quality of officiating in the competition.
A number of trainers, who asked not to be identified, have complained about several decisions made by referees and judges in the TV competition this season, arguing that these decisions negatively affect the safety of fighters and their fair advancement through to the latter stages, with only three of eight local fighters making the quarter-finals.
One coach said that he could not understand the decision made in week six of the competition, which saw Canada's Dave Leblond defeat Team Jamaica's Nico Yeyo on a split decision by the judges.
However, Jones argued that the judges' decisions are completely objective, even though, at times, he may not agree with their scorecards.
"My experience with the rules of the sport and when it comes to the judging is that the judges sit at three different areas (of the ring), so what one judge may be seeing is different from what another sees. (Critics) may be seeing it from the vantage point of one of the judges ... and you can see clearly something that the other judges can't see."
Lindel Allen, who scored the bout 47-45 for Leblond, would have seen the Canadian winning three of the five rounds by a score of 10-9 while Yeyo won the others, 10-9 before the deductions (one point from Yeyo and two from Leblond, by referee Owen Nelson) came into play.
Jeremy Hayes, with a score of 48-44, would have given four rounds in favour of Leblond, with one of them being 10-8 because he felt that he was dominant, without gaining a knockdown. The other rounds would then have been 10-9 in his favour, with one round being scored 10-9 in Yeyo's favour before the deductions.
Clifford Brown would have arrived at his 46-46 final score if he scored three rounds 10-9 in favour of Yeyo and two for Leblond by a 10-9 score before deductions.
However, some persons are sceptical about how the match could have been ruled in favour of Yeyo by a judge when he was seen by many to have spent long periods of the bout holding Leblond.
The Sunday Gleaner contacted the judges to seek a response, but was told that they are restricted by the JBBC from speaking to the media.
REFEREES NOT DOING ENOUGH
Two coaches have also complained that referees are not doing enough to protect their boxers from shots to the back of the head and to the back, which are outlawed based on the rules of the sport.
One coach said that he observed in week five that, during Gregory Miller's fight with Francesco Cotroni, Miller should have been given the standing eight count after being knocked down towards the end of the second round, but was allowed to continue being hit until the bell rang to end the round. He was then given the count in the following round and the fight stopped after referee Peter Richards decided he could not face further hits.
This, the coach believes, could have exposed Miller to what he described as a serious and lasting injury.