Leading boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is leading calls for British judge Terry O’Connor to be removed from his role after a controversial mid-fight incident over the weekend.
Hearn - who is the promoter for heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua among others - wants O’Connor to be removed from the British Boxing Board of Control panel after he was pictured with a phone in his hand during a bout on Saturday night.
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Pictured captured during the eighth round of Brit Lewis Ritson's controversial split-decision win against Mexico’s Miguel Vazquez, show the judge on his phone and not paying immediate attention to what was transpiring inside the ring.
O’Connor scored Ritson a 117-111 winner in the fight, with the two other judges scoring the bout 116-113 to Vazquez and 115-113 to Ritson.
Hearn tweeted the image at the centre of the controversy and said if found guilty, the judge has o be stood down.
“If that’s a phone (and I presume it is) then BBBofC should immediately remove him," he tweeted.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman also weighed in on the controversy, calling the image "extremely troubling to any person involved in boxing.”
Fans on social media also criticised the judge, calling the alleged offence a "disgrace" and also calling for him to be sanctioned.
This image is extremely troubling to any person involved in boxing. pic.twitter.com/mLtNzBnXnF— Mauricio Sulaiman (@wbcmoro) October 17, 2020
Absolutely correct.— Hamza (@hamzanumber1) October 18, 2020
He could be doing anything on that phone. Like one person said, he don't need to watch the fight when he's already decided his card pre fight.
BBBofC have an opportunity and a downright obligation to act on this. The phone needs interrogation and should be seized. An enquiry into any content that suggests impropriety or lack of should be disclosed publicly. I’m not suggesting corruption but he wasn’t ordering a pizza!— lee somerville (@somerville_lee) October 18, 2020
Wtf is this. It’s awful from terry but also from the promotion and management. Why is a judge allowed a phone even if he gets the decision right he shouldn’t have it on him. Disgraceful from anyone involved in this— Rich Haines (@rich_haines) October 18, 2020
How the hell is he scoring a fight he's not watching 🤬— Jon DeSade (@ThaRealDeSade) October 18, 2020
This is shameful, embarrassing & criminal. This is the livelihood of fighters & a loss is detrimental to them. To rob them is a travesty of great magnitude. Unacceptable.— Dr. Arthif Daniel (@DrHitmanDaniel) October 18, 2020
Oh no that is dreadful. Needs to be struck off from being a judge forever. No wonder they often get it so wrong.— Scott Dance (@scott_dance1) October 18, 2020
Alleged incident set to be investigated
British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) general secretary Robert Smith said he was "very disappointed" and vowed that it will be investigated.
“I am so frustrated that this seems to have happened," Smith told Boxing News.
"After the hard work we do behind the scenes we have something like this emerging.
“Personally I am so disappointed. I can’t say anything more on this at this point.”
Hearn also took aim at O’Connor's scoring of the fight, stating his shock over the large winning margin he gave to Ritson in the contest.
“117-111 to Ritson was a disgrace of a [judging] card," Hearn said.
"And it’s terrible for the sport. People have got to be accountable for bad decisions.
"If you’re in a job and you don’t perform well, then you’ve got to face the consequences."
Smith said he can can "completely understand why people felt Vazquez had won" and insisted the fight would be looked at.
O'Connor was embroiled in another controversy last year when he awarded Callum Smith a big victory against John Ryder in a bout in November.
The British judge also scored that fight 117-111 in favour of Smith.
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