Report: WBC Pushes for Replay Rule in Upcoming Bout

WBC Advocates for Instant Replay in Usyk-Fury Rematch

Urging for Rule Change in High-Stakes Boxing

As the boxing world eagerly anticipates the rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury scheduled for December 21, the World Boxing Council (WBC) is making a strong push for the integration of instant replay technology to oversee contentious in-ring incidents. This comes in the wake of previous governance conflicts that have prevented its regular use since its introduction by the WBC in 2008.

Conflicts with the BBBoC

The integration of instant replay has been a complex issue, primarily due to resistance from various governing bodies, including the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC). The BBBoC holds that pausing a match to review footage disrupts the flow of the event, potentially stretching several minutes to reach a conclusion. This stance played a significant role in the rejection of replay technology during the first Usyk-Fury fight, especially with the bout staged in Saudi Arabia, where the BBBoC’s influence is notable.

“Video replay is a rule that the WBC has had for a few years but it is a complicated situation with the BBBoC as they do not accept its use,” Mauricio Sulaiman, head of the WBC, explained to TalkSPORT. He added, “However, during the rules meetings of the last fight between Fury and Usyk we demanded that the video replay be used for the WBC’s sake. We will be pushing for it in the rematch and every fight we are involved in.”

The Middle East Professional Boxing Commission’s Role

While the BBBoC was responsible for overseeing the undercard of the Usyk-Fury fight, the main event was governed by the Middle East Professional Boxing Commission. The local authority had considerable BBBoC influence, further complicating the adoption of the instant replay rule. Sulaiman noted the challenges: “The Middle East Professional Boxing Commission was the local authority and the BBBoC had a lot of influence over them so they were claiming not to have it [instant replay].”

Despite these complexities, the WBC maintained a stance that should a major controversy arise, they reserved the right to use their own systems to review and potentially correct decisions on the spot. “But in the end, the WBC made it clear that if there was absolute evidence of a major controversy then we would reserve the right to make our own decision using the big screen and correct the ruling,” Sulaiman stated.

Historical Precedents and Future Aspirations

The call for instant replay is not without precedent. In 2019, a controversial moment occurred when Julio Cesar Martinez was initially declared the KO winner over WBC flyweight champion Charlie Edwards in London. Upon replay review, it was determined that the finishing blow was illegal, leading Sulaiman to publicly reverse the decision to a no-contest, despite the displeasure of the BBBoC’s General Secretary Robert Smith.

Photo IMAGO

Looking forward, Sulaiman is also advocating for an increase in the number of judges from three to six for the Usyk-Fury rematch, aiming to enhance the fairness and accuracy of the bout’s outcome.

As the debate over the use of instant replay in boxing continues, the sport finds itself at a crossroads between tradition and technological integration. The outcome of this advocacy may not only affect the rematch but also set a precedent for the future of boxing governance globally.

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