A Bulgarian boxer who grabbed a female broadcaster’s face and kissed her on the lips during a post-fight interview has been suspended until July by the California State Athletic Commission following tearful testimony by the interviewer.
Kubrat Pulev, a heavyweight contender known as “The Cobra,” was also ordered during a commission hearing to attend sexual harassment prevention classes and pay a US$2500 fine (AU$3600) before he can fight again in the state of California.
Pulev, who has only one loss in 27 fights, grabbed Jennifer Ravalo’s face and kissed her in the middle of a live interview.
The incident occurred moments after he knocked out Romania’s Bogdan Dinu in the seventh round of a March fight in Costa Mesa, California.
One of Bulgaria’s most popular sportsmen, Pulev apologised for his actions during the hearing as his girlfriend, the Bulgarian pop star Andrea, sat behind him, wearing dark glasses.
Attorneys for Pulev said that the fighter had got caught up in the moment following his big win and “didn’t have his wits about him” when he kissed the reporter.
Pulev and his lawyers argued in the hearing that Ravalo did not appear to be very upset about the incident because she joined the boxer and his team at a post-match celebration later that night.
But Ravalo said in tearful testimony that Pulev also grabbed her buttocks off-camera following the interview, leaving her feeling humiliated, and has not apologised in the two months since.
“I did not want him to kiss me,” Ravalo said.
Immediately after the kiss, Pulev claimed the pair were friends.
“You may have seen a clip of me kissing a female reporter following an interview after I won my fight on Saturday night,” he tweeted.
“The reporter, Jenny, is actually a friend of mine, and after the interview, I was so elated, I gave her a kiss.
“Later that night, she joined me and my other friends at my post-fight celebration.
“On the video, after our kiss, we both laughed about it and thanked each other. There really is nothing more to this.”