British Boxing Set To Introduce VAR After Controversial Fight Between Charlie Edwards & Julio Cesar Martinez
Something rather unprecedented happened in boxing over the weekend during a flyweight world title fight between Britain’s Charlie Edwards as he defended his WBC title against Mexican challenger Julio Cesar Martinez.
After winning the first two rounds on the cards, Edwards came under intense pressure and was eating a flurry of heavy punches from Martinez and decided to take a knee – a smart move in boxing designed to accept that you’ve lost round and subsequently take the 10-seconds to regroup.
However, what followed was something that stunned the sold-out O2 Arena. With Edwards on the floor and the ref ready to administer his count, Martinez landed another brutal left-hook to the 26-year-old’s ribs.
It was a shockingly late blow and it sent Edwards rolling on the ground. The referee, probably due to his ill-judgement, continued to administer his count and ignored the incident.
After the fight was waved off, the referee awarded the fight to Martinez by way of TKO – despite everyone in the entire arena and those watching at home realising that something unjust happened.
Under the rules of the British Boxing Board of Control, instant replays are not allowed to assists officials if they want a second look at an incident. However, in this instance, with the president of the World Boxing Council Mauricio Sulaiman in the building, he exercised his power to get on the mic and immediately rule the bout as a ‘no contest’ and order an immediate rematch.
A chorus of cheers reverberated around the arena, though a quick glance at the replays suggests that Mauricio should’ve gone a step further and disqualified his compatriot.
Following the night of boxing at the O2, the need for video replays to assist referees was a trending topic with many questioning why the BBBoC would prevent it from being available.
There are scenarios when a quick look at instant replays could help the official make a very important decision. For example, last month in Houston, Texas, a unification bout between two, elite light-welterweights ensued as Jose Ramirez and Maurice Hooker locked horns.
In the first round, Ramirez and Hooker clashed and the latter went down rather bizarrely with the referee instantly ruled it as a knockdown, meaning that the Texas-native was two rounds down.
Replays showed that Hooker went down from a tangle of legs and not a single punch landed on him during that exchange. A quick break and walk over to ringside could’ve potentially changed the course of that fight.
Hooker was then forced to chase the fight and take more risks and was eventually stopped in the sixth round.
With each commission essentially its own law-makers, the BBBoC have decided to seriously look at VAR in boxing and have hinted that they will introduce it following the demand from powerful promoter Eddie Hearn, Mail Sport reports.