Nice jab, Boxing Board

Thursday, April 10, 2014    

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LAST week, the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control (JBBC) did our country and the sport of boxing proud, by reversing the decision giving victory to Barbadian Christopher "Shaka" Henry over Jamaican Glenroy 'Bumpy' Beckford in the April 2, 2014 Wray & Nephew Contender bout.

This action by the JBBC might well have saved the future of the Contender television series which we have commended in this space for reigniting interest in boxing and for inviting boxers from the wider Caribbean to compete against Jamaicans.

For those who came in late, last week Wednesday, Mr Beckford was given a split decision victory over Mr Henry after their boxing match at the Chinese Benevolent Association. It came as no surprise to anyone who had seen the bout when the Caribbean team lodged a protest.

According to the boxing board, the three judges voted 2-1 for Beckford, with judges Clifford Brown and Keith Brown scoring the fight a draw 57-57, while judge Lindell Allen had it 58-56 for Henry. Based on those scores, the decision would have been a majority draw. But with the proviso that there must be a winner in the Contender series for a boxer to move to the next round, the two judges who scored the fight a draw were required by the competition rules to nominate a winner, and they both named Beckford.

In their protest, the Caribbean team pointed to the fact that in the third round of the fight, Henry scored a knockdown that was not ruled a knockdown by referee Ransford Burton. Had he done so it would have automatically meant a point deduction for Beckford and given Henry victory at the end of the contest.

"The appeal panel reviewed a tape of the fight, and it showed that in the third round, after receiving two hard blows to the head, Beckford fell forward and his gloves touched the canvas. According to the rules of boxing, that should have been ruled a knockdown and he should have been given a mandatory eight count and had a point deducted," the JBBC said in a press statement.

"Since the referee did not rule the knockdown, the judges could not have made the point deduction, and the board wishes to make it clear that it agreed with the scores of the two judges in question at the end of the fight, based on the facts. When the point is deducted, however, Henry became the winner 57-56 and the JBBC appeal panel ruled accordingly that the fight be awarded to Henry by unanimous decision."

We join the boxing board in offering sympathy to Mr Beckford for the untidy affair and support the board's view that as regrettable as the situation was, "the rules of boxing must prevail", if the sport and the series are to grow and succeed.

Had the Jamaican victory been allowed to stand, it would have become a detriment to the Contender series, as other Caribbean boxers would begin to feel they did not stand a real chance of succeeding in Jamaica, which would be a great pity.

As we have said before, the series, now in its fourth year, is doing what any good enterprise should. It's growing, as evidenced by fact that, among other things, the top prize money has increased from $1 million to $2 million.

It is worth repeating that with the success of the Wray and Nephew Contender Series, Jamaican boxing could see a return to its glory days of providing world champions.





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