Lenny Daws seemed to be on his way to a career-best victory in Carshalton last night until Freddy Rafn made all the headlines with a highly controversial disqualification in round ten of his European title contest.
Having already lost out via a debated decision to Michele Di Rocco in Italy two years ago, Daws had waited a long time for a second opportunity at the EBU 140 pound belt and through nine rounds seemed certain to be crowned new champion.
In the tenth round of a competitive and bruising encounter with Ruben Nieto, Daws leant in for an exchange with the Spaniard and caught his opponent on the head in what looked for all the world to be an unintentional move.
Danish referee Rafn looked at a horrible cut that had opened up on Nieto’s head and at first looked to have stopped the contest. As the home crowd cheered for a Daws win, the fighter himself waited for what should have been a switch to the scorecards due to the nature of the finish, although Rafn then pointed at Daws and said he was thrown out for a deliberate headbutt.
To the shock of fans and media alike, Nieto was handed the win as a bemused Daws trudged around the ring wondering what had just happened.
It wasn’t the first controversy in the fight either, as earlier on Rafn gave Daws a standing eight count for taking a nailed on low blow from Nieto. Daws was ahead on all three scorecards despite Rafn’s poor night, but that still doesn’t change the fact that the 36 year-old has once again been wronged in an EBU title fight.
Promoter Mick Hennessy was livid in his post-fight interview and had a few choice names for the referee, although is intent on filing an appeal with the EBU and will seek out an immediate rematch for his boxer.
On Saturday night’s evidence, that’s the least Daws deserves as ‘Lightning’ should have been declared the victor 87-84, 86-84 and 85-84 after the completed nine rounds on the cards for what was for all the world an accidental head clash.
Also on the card at Westcroft Leisure Centre, Hughie Fury knocked out Larry Olubamiwo in the first round to move to 18-0, whilst Andrew Selby continued his impressive start in the pro ranks with six-round points win over Everth Briceno.