By Jake Donovan
Handlers for bantamweight contender Julio Ceja followed through on their mid-week promise to protest the IBF-appointed officials selection for this weekend’s vacant title fight with Jamie McDonnell.
The bout takes place in McDonnell’s hometown of Doncaster, England, and comes with two of the four appointed officials hailing from the UK. One of the two is referee Howard Foster, who has officiated two of McDonnell’s recent bouts and also hails from the fighter’s hometown.
Ceja (24-0, 22KO) was already conceding hometown advantage to McDonnell, but his handlers are demanding a more level playing field in order for the fight to proceed as planned on Saturday.
“The British Boxing Board of Control Ltd (“BBB”), has appointed Mr. Howard Foster to officiate the contest to be staged in the United Kingdom, and who is origin also from Doncaster, England,” promoter Reginald Kuchle points out to the sanctioning body, according to a letter obtained by
Boxingscene.com. “As you may know, Mr. Julio Ceja is an overseas Boxer that is in total disadvantage by having a referee with the same nationality of his opponent, fighting in their own territory.
“We truly believe that, in order to avoid any doubt, we kindly request your support by informing the BBB to appoint a new referee that could assure a neutral, clean and fair fight to Mr. Julio Ceja. This unfortunate situation was never explained to us before entering into this uncomfortable situation, neither the selection process nor the rules of boxing applicable to the United Kingdom.”
One of the four officials hails from Mexico – ringside judge Alfredo Polanco. The other two judges are Holger Weimann of Germany, and England’s own Dave Parris.
The general belief regarding this weekend’s vacant title fight is either for Ceja to win by knockout or McDonnell (20-2, 9KO) to win a decision should he last all 12 rounds. Ceja is confident in his ability to box if it comes to that. What his team seeks at this point, is greater assurance of a fight that remains one-on-one and free of any bias from officials, perception or otherwise.
“We desperate ask for your kind support by appointing a new referee totally neutral to the participants of the bout, with different nationality of any of them,” Kuchle pleads to the IBF. “We appreciate your help in advance.”
A response has not yet been offered by the IBF.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox