THE colossal heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium this weekend will be overseen by neutral officials following specific requests from both sides of the promotion.
Both Joshua’s team and Klitschko’s requested that the referee and all three scoring judges be neutral, meaning any from the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Russia and Germany were excluded.
Matchroom Boxing and K2 worked with the British Boxing Board of Control and the IBF and WBA – whose titles will be on the line – to determine which officials would work the blockbuster clash.
It has now been confirmed that American David Fields will be the third man in the ring. Fields, from New Jersey, has refereed more than 200 bouts over a 17-year career, including Sergey Kovalev’s decision win over Bernard Hopkins in 2014. A former sparring partner of Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Fields has the size and presence to stamp his authority on the Joshua-Klitschko fight should it get ugly.
Don Trella (USA), Nelson Vazquez (Puerto Rico) and Steve Weisfeld (USA) will be the judges at ringside. All are experienced judges, with Weisfeld recently scoring Gennady Golovkin’s decision win over Danny Jacobs, awarding the Kazakh a score of 115-112. He was also one of two judges who scored James DeGale’s January clash with Badou Jack a draw (113-113).
Trella returns to the UK after having been one of the judges who was scoring Liam Smith’s controversial stoppage win over Liam Williams earlier this month. At the time of the stoppage, which came due to a severe cut and swelling to Williams’ eye, Trella had the Welshman up by one point. He was also one of the judges for Golovkin-Jacobs and turned in the exact same score as Weisfeld.
Vazquez is also accustomed to the big nights, and worked Matchroom’s Monte Carlo show at the end of last year. He scored Jamie McDonnell a 116-112 winner in his questionable points win over Liborio Solis.
Joshua-Klitschko will see 90,000 fans pack out the iconic stadium in London and could well smash the British pay-per-view record. HBO and Showtime battled to win the American broadcast rights for it, but both will air it, making this just the third fight in history – behind Lennox Lewis vs Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao – to have unified the broadcasting rivals. Showtime will show the fight live while HBO have the delayed broadcast.