THE British Boxing Board of Control’s Robert Smith promises that the performance of ringside judge Terry O’Connor will be investigated after he was seen looking at what appeared to be his phone before scoring Lewis Ritson a lopsided winner over Miguel Vazquez.
Even before the screenshot of O’Connor emerged, the official was drawing significant criticism for scoring 117-111 in favour of Ritson after a bout that appeared to be controlled and won by Vazquez. Marcus McDonnell had the Mexican up, 116-113, while Michael Alexander favoured Ritson, 115-113, to hand him a very fortunate victory.
“In terms of the scoring, it was a case of whether you liked the man forcing the fight or the boxer,” Smith told Boxing News on Sunday morning.
“I know the Sky commentators had Vazquez well ahead. They’re a long way from the ring but, I was there, and I can completely understand why people felt that Vazquez won. The fight will be looked at again, very carefully indeed.”
The argument that the judges have a better view than anyone else is often used to defend controversial decisions. But when an official is spotted looking at a phone, a scorecard or anything other than the action they’re supposed to be judging, such reasoning becomes nonsensical.
“I am very, very disappointed,” an obviously furious Smith said. “This has to be looked at and investigated and it will be. I am so frustrated that this seems to have happened. After all the hard work we do behind the scenes we have something like this emerging. Personally, I am so disappointed. I can’t say anything more on it at this point.”
After seeing the screenshot, show promoter Eddie Hearn tweeted: “If that’s a phone, and I presume it is, the BBBofC should remove him [O’Connor].”
If that’s a phone (and I presume it is) then then BBBofC should immediately remove him. https://t.co/yVGKMRvNG9— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) October 17, 2020