WBC orders review of controversial Petalcorin-Kimweri fight
MANILA, Philippines – World Boxing Council (WBC) president Mauricio Sulaiman has ordered a review of the controversial fight between Filipino boxer Randy Petalcorin and Australia-based Tanzanian Omari Kimweri, which took place Friday, April 15 in Melbourne, Australia.
Four knockdowns scored by Petalcorin were not credited by Australian referee Malcolm Bulner which would have altered the verdict from a split decision loss to a unanimous decision win for Petalcorin. Two of the judges, including Bulner’s wife Samantha, turned in scores of 115-112 in favor of Kimweri, while a third scored it 114-113 in favor of Petalcorin.
Sulaiman tells Rappler that the WBC has "ordered the review of the fight by a full panel for referee performance and also full panel to evaluate the scoring" of the vacant WBC silver flyweight title fight, which has sparked outrage among netizens despite the fight’s limited audience on pay-per-view livestream. Peter Maniatis, who co-manages Petalcorin with Jim Claude Manangquil, is seeking the decision to be overturned to a Petalcorin win in his formal protest letter to the WBC.
The verdict was a stunning setback for the 24-year-old Petalcorin of Davao City, Philippines, who is considered among the brightest young Filipino boxers in the world, having earned a no. 2 world ranking at 108 pounds by The Ring magazine and previous holding the WBA interim junior flyweight title.
The show’s promoter Brian Amatruda reacted defiantly when confronted with video of the knockdowns, telling this reporter on Facebook: “Oh well complain all you want, the decision won't change. Omar won and that's it.” The promoter refused on several instances to answer about the knockdowns in question but did suggest that the video appeared to depict knockdowns by saying, "you can make videos look [like] anything you want."
Amatruda added that the fight appeared "different live" though one of the fight's broadcast commentators Jose Lopez told this reporter in a Twitter message that he “would like to see some justice made.”
@ryansongalia I'm the one who commentated this bout and would like to see some justice made. Rematch on neutral grounds?— Jose Lopez (@jlopez_1979) April 16, 2016
The video, which was presented in real time with no editing other than for collation, has been viewed over 25,000 times and shared nearly 300 times in the two days since it was posted. One person associated with the event’s production had previously demanded that the 50-second video be deleted from this writer’s personal Facebook account.
Maniatis says in his letter to the WBC that he was not informed that all 3 judges and the referee would be from Melbourne, where Kimweri resides, until just days before the fight. A decision to overturn a verdict is not without precedent.
Last August Australia-based Welshman Kerry Hope had his vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council middleweight title fight against Petchsuriya Singwancha in Hong Kong changed from a draw to a unanimous decision win upon review. Two of the judges were suspended and ordered to undergo retraining.
Sulaiman concluded his statement saying that the "reviews are very professional and lead to great conclusions. We will wait for the full process to take place before taking any additional action." – Rappler.com
Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.