Vegas Sports Daily journalist Jenny SuShe says boxer Kubrat Pulev grabbed her backside after forcibly kissing her in a post-fight interview.
SuShe was speaking to the Bulgarian boxer in California after his win over Bogdan Dinu last weekend when the controversial moment occurred.
SuShe said in a press conference on Thursday that she was “shocked and embarrassed” following the interview and didn’t know how to react.
“Next, I walked to a table to put my items in my backpack,” SuShe said.
“[Pulev] grabbed both of my buttocks and squeezed with both of his hands.
“Then, he walked away without saying anything to me — and laughed.”
SuShe also says Pulev later asked her to delete the video of the kiss.
“I did not remove it and instead I posted it because I wanted people to see what he had done to me,” she said.
“I wanted him to be accountable and I did not want him to get away with it.
“What he did to me was disgusting.”
Pulev later defended his actions by saying he and SuShe are friends, but not according to her.
“We were not friends, we were not in a romantic relationship, he had no right to kiss me,” SuShe said.
SuShe is taking legal action against Pulev, hiring high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred.
Allred has called for Pulev to be suspended by the California State Athletic Commission.
“They need to send a message to others about what is appropriate behaviour of a boxer,” Allred said.
The commission said they are “committed to sanctioning events where people of all gender identities are respected as competitors, reporters, and fans.”
“On Tuesday Pulev was notified that, before he will be licensed to fight in California again, he must appear in front of the commission and demonstrate that he conforms to this principle of respect,” they said.
Pulev’s response slammed
In the face of a wave of criticism, Pulev defended the kiss, saying he and SuShe are close friends.
“You may have seen a clip of me kissing a female reporter after I won my fight on Saturday night,” he wrote on Twitter.
“The reporter, Jenny is actually a friend of mine and after the interview, I gave her a kiss.
“Later that night she joined me and my other friends at my post-fight celebration — after our kiss we both laughed about it and thanked each other.
“There is really nothing more to this.”
Sirena Bergman of The Independent was left furious over Pulev’s response.
“Pulev refuses to apologise, and the reasons he gives for why his actions are acceptable are astonishing,” she wrote.
“He says she’s “a friend”, that he was “elated”, and that later on that say she joined him for a celebration. It remains unclear how any of these things excuse sexual assault.
“It is of course disturbing to see a woman be forced into what appears to be unwanted sexual contact, but there’s something particularly despicable about it happening to her at her place of work.
“Women continue to struggle across the world to receive equal recognition, pay and treatment to men in the workplace.
“This becomes especially so in traditionally male-dominated environments, of which sports reporting remains one.
“The boxing industry must act to show that his kind of abusive behaviour will not be tolerated, and that it will stand up for women like SuShe, who deserve to exist in this space and feel safe, not be humiliated and degraded on camera, and forced to laugh it off.”
Bergman wasn’t the only one who labelled the kiss ‘sexual assault’.