Report: Judging Drama Escalates Ahead of Riyadh Showdown

Controversy Surrounds Judging Proposal for Usyk-Fury Fight

As the highly anticipated Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tyson Fury bout approaches, a debate over the judging system proposed by WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman intensifies. Scheduled for May 18 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this match promises not just fireworks in the ring but also outside it, particularly regarding how the fight should be judged.

Photo: IMAGO

Sulaiman’s Six-Judge Proposal

In an effort to steer clear of any judging controversies for what has been dubbed the “Ring of Fire” fight, Sulaiman has put forward a suggestion to increase the number of judges from the traditional three to six. The WBC president believes this change could minimize the impact of potentially poor judging decisions on such a crucial night. Sulaiman has already sent an emergency petition to the WBO, WBA, and IBF, as well as to the fighters and their promoters, hoping to secure approval for this unprecedented judging panel.

Opposition from Bob Arum

Bob Arum, the CEO of Top Rank and co-promoter of Tyson Fury, stands firmly against this proposal. His concerns reflect a hesitation to alter the traditional framework in such a high-stakes scenario. “You don’t put in something like that for the first time dealing with a major fight from the standpoint of visibility and importance,” Arum expressed to BoxingScene. He suggests that any experimental changes in the judging system be tested in less prominent bouts before being implemented in blockbuster events like Fury vs. Usyk.


Scepticism from the Boxing Community

The boxing community, including Frank Warren, another of Fury’s promoters, has echoed Arum’s sentiments, showing a considerable amount of scepticism towards the idea of six judges. Warren and others advocate for maintaining the traditional three-judge system, which they believe suffices under the current regulations.

Additional Highlights

As discussions continue, an interesting twist to the tale is the WBC commemorative belt for the fight, which recently received a personal blessing from Pope Francis. Regardless of the outcome of the judging debate, Fury and Usyk are set to rematch later in the year, marking another significant event for Riyadh.

With such differing opinions on the judging system, the lead-up to this fight remains as compelling outside the ring as the action expected within it.

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