Pinoy contender Randy Petalcorin loses controversial fight in Australia
MANILA, Philippines - Top-rated Filipino contender Randy Petalcorin suffered a shock split decision loss to Omari Kimweri in a fight for the vacant World Boxing Council silver flyweight title at the Melbourne Pavilion in Flemington, Australia on Friday, April 15.
One judge scored it 114-113 for Petalcorin while the other two saw it 115-112 for the Australia-based Tanzanian Kimweri (16-3, 6 knockouts). Petalcorin (23-2-1, 18 KOs) of Davao City had vacated the interim WBA junior flyweight title he had won in 2014 prior to the fight and entered the bout rated number two in the world by The Ring magazine at 108 pounds. He loses for the first time since 2010 while Kimweri wins his fourth straight fight.
After the fight Petalcorin's managers Jim Claude Manangquil and Peter Maniatis expressed outrage as Australian referee Malcolm Bulmer missed several knockdown calls which would have swayed the decision in their fighter's favor. Bulmer's wife Samantha was also one of the judges who scored the fight for Kimweri.
"We were both shocked and disgusted about the decision," said Maniatis. "It's horrible for boxing and we will protest this."
Petalcorin, 24, showed signs of rust after having fought just one round in the previous 19 months. Kimweri, 33, looked the busier of the two in the opening round but received a favorable call when a knockdown scored by a Petalcorin left was not counted. That would be a consistent theme throughout the 12-round bout.
Petalcorin continued to stalk as the awkward Kimweri lunged in with wide swinging shots whenever Petalcorin's southpaw jab ceased. Kimweri brought several roughhouse tactics to the ring also, striking Petalcorin when he slipped to the canvas in round one and landing a punch well after the bell to end round 3.
Kimweri landed his best shot of the fight in round 4, stunning Petalcorin as the two traded roundhouse rights. The 3 judges had the fight even after 4, with a judge scoring it 39-36 each while the third had it 38-38, according to WBC open scoring.
After several rounds of close combat, Petalcorin finally struck paydirt at the end of round 6, landing a hard overhand right left that had Kimweri rubber-legged. Kimweri appeared visibly hurt to begin the seventh as Petalcorin looked to finish what he had started. A left hand drove Kimweri into the ropes while another dropped him to the bottom rope. A knockdown should have been called as a punch landed and only the ropes kept him up but no call was made. The same scene played out 20 seconds later as another Petalcorin cross sent Kimweri into the ropes.
Kimweri survived and came back strongly against an arm-weary Petalcorin to fight his way out of danger for the remainder of the round. Rounds 8 and 9 belonged to Kimweri as he initiated exchanges from unorthodox angles which found their way around the guard of Petalcorin. Open scoring revealed that Kimweri was ahead on all 3 scorecards after 8, 78-74, 77-75, 75-73, bringing desperation from Petalcorin. It was only after Kimweri's lead was revealed that his roughhousing was penalized, as a point was deducted in round 10 for hitting on the break.
Petalcorin pressed for a knockout in rounds 11 and 12, sensing that he needed something spectacular to pull out the win. A knockdown could have also been scored in round 12 as a Petalcorin left cross drove Kimweri back and only the bottom rope kept him from falling out of the ring.
As the decision was read, Petalcorin's team celebrated prematurely but it was Kimweri's hand that was raised.
"I hope someone does something to correct this because it's killing the sport and the boxers," Manangquil said. – Rappler.com