KUBRAT PULEV has been ordered to appear before the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) to explain why he kissed a reporter on the lips following a post-fight interview on Saturday, March 23.
The 37-year-old heavyweight, who has only one loss in 27 fights, grabbed Jennifer Ravalo’s face and kissed her on the lips after knocking out Romania’s Bogdan Dinu in the seventh round in Costa Mesa, California. Now, Ravalo, who also claimed the Bulgarian grabbed her buttocks at the conclusion of the interview, is looking to take legal action.
“It made me feel uncomfortable and frustrated that Kubrat Pulev would treat me in such an unprofessional manner,” Ravalo said. “I did not encourage or consent to Mr. Pulev grabbing my face, kissing me, or grabbing my backside.
“I was there at the event covering the boxing match as a professional member of the press. Kissing a woman on her lips without her consent and grabbing her is not acceptable.”
Ravalo has called on the California State Athletic Commission to act and ban Pulev from competing in the future. They have responded with the following: “We take this incident seriously,” CSAC Deputy Director of Communications Veronica Harms said.
“Before he will be licensed to fight in California again, boxer Kubrat Pulev must appear in front of the commission and demonstrate that he will conform to this principle of respect.”
The next CSAC hearing is scheduled for May 14 and Ravalo is expected to attend.
According to Ravalo, the pair met again at a post-fight party and Pulev asked her to not upload the video, including the kiss. But Ravalo uploaded it anyway.
Since then, Pulev has claimed the kiss was merely a celebration between “friends”.
“The reporter, Jenny, is actually a friend of mine, and after the interview, I was so elated I gave her a kiss,” Pulev said. “Later that night, she joined me and my other friends at a post-fight celebration.”
The heavyweight division is about to throw up three mismatches in the space of four weeks yet, according to people in positions of power, there will be better days ahead.
Frank Warren, promoter of Tyson Fury, isn’t saying his man’s fight against Tom Schwarz on June 15, live on ESPN, is the best heavyweight fight of 2019, but he refuses to accept it’s the worst, either.
Schwarz, a 24-year-old German, is undefeated in 24 pro fights to date but has yet to defeat anybody of note and has gone 10 rounds only once. Even so, Warren says Schwarz’s number two ranking with the WBO indicates a certain quality and, moreover, a lack of well-known challengers across the board means the unbeaten prospect is a perfectly acceptable opponent for Fury’s ESPN debut.
“If you look at the top five heavyweights behind (Anthony) Joshua, (Deontay) Wilder and Fury, how many of them are well-known?” Warren wrote in the Metro. “Schwarz was chosen because he was ranked number two with the WBO and he’s got an undefeated 24-0 record.
“Coincidentally, that is the same record Tyson had when he fought, and beat, Wladimir Klitschko.
“No one can claim Tyson has ducked anyone. He’s been everywhere, fighting in everyone else’s backyard.”
With Fury and ESPN, one gets the sense it was always destined to be a slow build anyway. Wilder was never going to be the first man opposing Fury as part of that deal, nor will he be the second. However, Warren remains hopeful the two heavyweights who fought to a draw in December and therefore have unfinished business will meet within the next 12 months.
“I know Bob Arum has now said he thinks Tyson Fury’s rematch with Deontay Wilder won’t happen until February 2020,” said Warren. “I know, like me, he wants the fight to happen before the end of 2019, but he is saying February for a reason and that’s because Wilder rejected the DAZN offer. I think Showtime have offered him a couple of fights before he gets back in the ring with Tyson.
“If that is the position, then yes, it would be early next year. All of us want to see it this year, and we’ll see what happens. Speaking to Bob, the main thing now is to get Tyson’s debut on ESPN out of the way. Get the big US exposure on ESPN, beat Tom Schwarz and then we’ll be in a better position to know what will happen with the Wilder rematch.
“I still believe the next big heavyweight championship fight, provided they keep winning, will be Wilder vs Fury, not Anthony Joshua vs Wilder. There is a will between the two camps to make this rematch happen, that is a fact.”
All in good time, I suppose. All in good time.