British official Terry O’Connor, a referee of almost 1500 bouts, is facing disciplinary action after a scandal broke out in the wake of a shocking scorecard.
O’Connor was live at ringside in the Matchroom Bubble as Lewis Ritson and ex-world champion Miguel Vazquez traded leather.
To even an untrained eye, Vazquez seemed to do enough to take the verdict following twelve rounds of action in Peterborough, England.
Not so with two of the judges as Ritson squeezed through via a split decision. But it was O’Connor’s card that raised the most eyebrows.
The Birmingham man somehow had it 117-111 to Ritson, a mark that was even more shocking than the awful Michael Alexander card of 115-113.
Social media has since exploded as a picture of O’Connor on his phone during the eighth round began doing the rounds.
A judge looking at his cellphone while fight is underway. https://t.co/h9SsqwTtXG
— World Boxing Council (@WBCBoxing) October 18, 2020
Promoter Eddie Hearn commented by stating the British Boxing Board of Control should throw out O’Connor. While the World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman aired his concern.
At the very least, O’Connor will face a hearing with the Board to explain his actions. The presence of mobile phones at ringside may also come into question.
What any official needs a phone for during such a high-profile match-up is a head-scratcher in the first place.
The situation means sinister accusations bombard O’Connor.
A fighter himself during the 1970s and early 80s, O’Connor turned to officiating upon retirement. He later began judging fights as and when needed.
With well over 500 contests under his belt, it beggars belief that he could get this total so wrong. Upon a little more inspection, though, it has happened before.
Part of a trio who scored the Callum Smith fight versus John Ryder in favor of the Liverpool man, O’Connor was questioned back in November.
Eyebrows were also raised when he scored Martin Murray’s triumph over Gabriel Rosado, a draw in 2017.
This latest situation is much more severe, though. A mobile phone at ringside is unforgivable enough without scrolling through as the action unfolds.
We await an official statement from Matchroom and the British Board on O’Connor over the coming days. Not good.
The views expressed in this article are that of the Editor, Phil Jay. WBN celebrated its 10th Anniversary on August 1st, 2020, and is one of the top-visited boxing news websites in the world. Phil Jay is an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay