by Ronnie Nathanielsz
The first title defense of IBO super flyweight champion Edrin “The Sting” Dapudong against South African challenger and WBF champion Lwandile Sithyatha of South Africa in East London on July 19, Manila Time, is in danger of being scrapped.
Dapudong’s manager Manny Pinol in an email to Viva Sports/Manila Standard said he would not agree to a last minute change in the referee assigned to the fight.
Pinol told us that he was informed by the IBO that British referee Michael Alexander had been replaced by an official from Johannesburg, South Africa which Dapudong’s manager said “tilted the fight in favor of the South African challenger” since one of the three judges will also be a South African.
He said he had informed promoter Ayanda Matiti as well as the IUBO that he would not agree to a last minute change in officials.
The two other judges are internationally respected judge/referee Bruce Mctavish of New Zeakand who lives in the Philippines and Waleska Roldan from the United States.
Pinol said that IBO President Ed Levine contacted him by overseas telephone call explaining why the British referee was not able to come.
He also assured Pinol that the South African referee will be fair and that should the decision of the fight end up being questionable, Dapudong would be given a rematch.
In his phone conversation with the IBO President, Pinol explained that the Filipino boxing fans will blame him if he allows the Filipino champion to get in the ring in a very obvious uneven fight.
Pinol told Levine "I will bear the brunt of the blame of the Filipino boxing fans should Dapudong lose his title in a controversial decision..”
The decision of Dapudong’s manager to withdraw him from what he perceives to be a trap stems from a previous experience also in South Africa where Dapudong lost a hugely controversial 12 round decision to Gideon Buthelezi in November of 2012, a loss which Dapudong avenged with a first round knockout in a rematch.
Pinol made it clear that the decision to withdraw from this fight will cost a lot not only because Dapudong will not be paid the $25,000 purse he is supposed to receive but also because they had purchased their airline tickets going to South Africa because of the delay on the part of the promoter Xaba Boxing to send Team Dapudong their tickets which were needed by the South African embassy before they would issue visas.
But the financial losses are nothing compared to the humiliation we will suffer in what is expected to be another hometown decision