WHO are the judges and referee for Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury?
Four experienced officials have been tasked with keeping controversy at bay during this weekend’s WBC heavyweight title fight between Alabama’s Deontay Wilder and Britain’s Tyson Fury at the Los Angeles Staples Center.
Some eyebrows were raised when it was announced that Oxnard, California’s Jack Reiss will be the referee due to this being the fifth Wilder contest he has refereed. Reiss oversaw Wilder’s 2014 stoppage of Jason Gavern, he counted out Eric Molina in a WBC title fight in 2015, rescued Johan Duhaupass in the same year before accepting Chris Arreola’s corner retirement in 2016.
Of course, there is no suggestion that Reiss will favour Wilder in any way but the official – who will talk to both teams before the contest to outline the rules – will be a familiar face to the champion’s staff.
Reiss is not afraid to take points should the action – or lack of – stray outside of the rules. Within the 711 bouts he has refereed since 2001, there are several examples of Reiss penalising fighters for holding and in 2013 he took points from both Andre Ward and Edwin Rodriguez in the fourth round for ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’.
The involvement of Reiss, also Wilder’s countryman, is perhaps counter-balanced by the inclusion of British judge, Phil Edwards.
Edwards, who will score the bout alongside Mexico’s Alejandro Rochin and Canada’s Robert Tapper, was a judge during both of Fury’s victories of Dereck Chisora and refereed Fury’s wild three-round victory over Nevan Pajkic in 2011. Two years later, Edwards was an unused judge when Wilder bombed out Audley Harrison in Manchester.
Edwards is a reliable official and has scored 347 bouts since 2000. He is remembered by some fans for scoring Chris Eubank Jnr a 116-113 winner over Billy Joe Saunders (the other two officials favoured Saunders), on the undercard of Fury-Chisora II in 2014.
Rochin, meanwhile, has judged 1,080 bouts with his first assignment taking place in 1992. A noteworthy ringside performance came in 2009 when he was the only judge to favour Andre Dirrell after the American’s tight encounter with Carl Froch in the then-WBC super-middleweight champion’s hometown of Nottingham. Many neutral observers agreed with Rochin’s score on that night.
Canada’s Robert Tepper is the third judge, and this will mark his 325th time keeping score. He’s been judging since 1989 and the following year he favoured Scott Papasadora, noteworthy only because it was the last fight in the great Wilfred Benitez’s career.
Tepper was last seen at ringside in Latvia, favouring Oleksandr Usyk during the Ukrainian’s tight majority decision win over Maris Breidis in January.