Saturday night was another blotch on the copybook of boxing controversies which saw Robert and Adalaide Byrd involved in contrasting capacities.
Mairis Briedis won the WBO cruiserweight title from Krzysztof Glowacki in highly questionable circumstances, with both Byrd’s at the heart of the event.
Something was certainly in the air pre-fight when WBC boss Mauricio Sulaiman announced the shock decision to withdraw any sanctioning from the contest.
“WBC withdraws it’s sanctioning of the Briedis vs Glowacki fight,” stated and obviously upset Sulaiman early on Saturday.
“The administrators of the WBSS tournament have failed to maintain the integrity of the bout. They have disregarded the WBC rules and regulations.
“The WBC strongly rejects the unfortunate discrimination and abuse of power that has been directed against the integrity of our institution.
“The WBC will evaluate its continuing participation in the remaining WBSS bouts in Season II. We will announce its decision soon.”
In an exclusive update to World Boxing News, Sulaiman explained what had gone wrong in the pre-fight build-up.
“The World Boxing Council cannot be part of the maneuvering which is taking place with the appointment of ring officials,” Sulaiman told WBN.
“I was contacted directly by the WBSS a month ago to address this matter. They claim the WBO demands to appoint the referee and two judges. This will allow the WBC one judge in a unification fight. This is unacceptable.
“Mairis Briedis is in his home country. He’s facing the WBO champion with three WBO officials. This not acceptable to the WBC and we won’t be part of this.”
Despite attempting to rectify the situation with a peace-offering solution, Sulaiman was seemingly ignored.
“The WBC has fully supported this great fight. It’s between two great champions in Briedis and Glowacki. The WBC has tried up to now to find a solution.
“If the ring officials are confirmed as per agreed with two from WBC. Also two from the WBO, then it’s on,” he concluded.
Hours later and fans gasped as the three judges were read out for the fight. They included Adalaide Byrd. The official is one of the most polarizing figures on the circuit.
Not only for an unbelievable scorecard for the Gennadiy Golovkin v Canelo I fight, but other unfathomable scores prior.
Add to that her husband was the referee and something just didn’t seem right in Riga, Latvia.
Anyone fearing the worst didn’t have to wait long for those fears to be realized.
Briedis retaliated to a Glowacki shot to the back of the head with an MMA-style elbow – right in front of third man Byrd.
The ref chose to simply warn Briedis of his conduct when throwing out the former world champion wouldn’t have been protested by many.
Glowacki’s attempts to milk the situation didn’t help, but the Pole had every right to ask for Briedis to be DQ’d.
He wasn’t and then all hell broke loose.
Glowacki, obviously hurt from the solid elbow, was dropped by a flurry of solid shots with seconds remaining in round two.
As the raucous crowd bayed for Briedis to finish the fight, the bell sounded furiously and was completely disregarded by the home fighter.
Even admitting he heard the ringing, Briedis took no notice and his actions still went unpunished. Yet another opportunity for Glowacki and his team to plead with Byrd to throw out Briedis.
Not so, even when Glowacki was dropped TWENTY seconds after the bell.
Into the third round, and Glowacki must have been wondering what was going on. He did manage to connect and rock Briedis, but he was already too stunned.
Eventually, the title holder was taken out and Briedis was declared the winner amidst chaotic scenes. Even more amazingly, nobody in a commanding position wanted to acknowledge the events which transpired.
The WBO, who didn’t even make it clear their belt was on the line, must be pushed to review the bout. Something which Byrd one hundred percent lost control of.
Given the fact that Byrd looked incompetent despite years of experience, and the fact that his wife was appointed to a world title fight after being stood down in the wake of GGG v Canelo, you have to wonder what is going on in this sport at times.
Couple that with the probability nothing will be done to rectify Glowacki’s injustice, boxing still hasn’t moved on in decades.
We should be at a point now where a terrible mistake should result in permanent demotion. Certainly not re-appointment at the highest level once a certain amount of time passes.
The Byrd’s also should be accountable for their own performance. It had those watching ringside and on TV tearing their hair out.
Big questions should be asked about drafting in a husband and wife to work the same contest.
It’s clearly not as transparent as people would like and hope it to be.
WBC President Sulaiman must be a relieved man to have distanced himself from such a farcical event at the eleventh hour.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay