by Ronnie Nathanielsz
International Boxing Organization president Ed Levine has ordered a review of the hugely controversial decision in the recent clash for the vacant IBO super flyweight title in which hometown fighter Gideon Buthelezi won by a split decision in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Levine who received a formal complaint letter from Dapudong’s manager, former North Cotabato governor, journalist and boxing commentator Emmanuel “Manny” Pinol as well as a request from this sports commentator which included copies of the negative stories and criticism in the South African media itself told us that “ a formal panel of prominent neutral IBO judges will be convened to review and score the fight. After said review a decision will be made with regard to the request to mandate a direct rematch.”
We had reminded president Levine that he influenced the promoter in the IBO title fight between Hekkie Budler and Juanito Rubillar to arrange a rematch also after criticism of the decision which favored Budler in the South African media.
In seeking to defend the integrity of the three judges, American Michael Pernick who scored it for Buthelezi 115-113 with a 10-9 score in round 9 when the South African was dropped, hometown judge Tony Nyangiwe who also favored Buthelezi 115-112 and Britain’s Reg Thompson who had Dapudong the winner 114-113 reported that “ All scorecards from all world championship fights are reviewed by the Head Office in order to discern any apparent multiple discrepancies between the judges. One of the key factors that is taken into account is to see which, if any of the judges, have disagreed with the other two judges on a round by round basis.”
Levine noted that “What stands out in a review of this particular score sheet is that each judge only disagreed with the other two judges on one round each (Nyangiwe - round 3, Pernick - round 9, Thompson - round 2). This normally indicates very credible judging.”
He said that “ Clearly the final scores also indicate a very close contest. Additionally, even if Pernick had scored the 9th round 10-8, he would not have been in the minority in any round and his score still would have favored Buthelezi. As an aside, it should be noted that all judges certified by the American Association of Boxing Commissions have been taught that there is no such thing as an automatic 10-8 round for a knock down. While the majority of rounds with a knock down are scored 10-8, a round can be scored 10-9 where the fighter who has dominated the round suffers a flash knock down. “
Levine also took exception to what he referred to as “unfounded statements that were published by Mr. Pinol in which he stated that he was not filing a complaint against a South African judge "because from the very start I knew that he would be biased in favor of the South African fighter" and he believed "that since we agreed to having a hometown judge it was like allowing a thief to guard your jewelry".
The IBO president made it clear that “the South African judge was appointed by the IBO and is licensed by the IBO. IBO officials do not give hometown decisions. If they did they would be suspended immediately. All our officials are carefully monitored.
Nevertheless, we take all complaints seriously and will issue a formal response to the complaint as soon as possible.”
The Golden Gloves boxing website of promoter Rodney Berman said "It was rough justice on Dapudong, who was the sharper and busier of the two fighters. Little wonder he looked perplexed and distraught when the scorecards were announced.”
The boxing website added "Dapudong must have thought he had the fight in the bag when he delivered a flash nine-count knockdown on Buthelezi in the ninth round.”
In another report titled “Buthelezi Gets Lucky” the South African media reported Buthelezi looked fortunate to eke out a split decision win over Dapudong and noted that Buthelezi was “bleeding from the nose and badly bruised around the left eye and although the South African took a battering he got lucky with the judges.”
The Post in South Africa reported that the Philippines' Edrin Dapudong broke into tears after South African Gideon Buthelezi gained a controversial, split-points decision over him in the other IBO title fight on the program.
Dapudong's disappointment in not securing the vacant IBO junior bantamweight title “was well justified, with Buthelezi on the canvas in the ninth round and seemingly heading for a knockout defeat.”
The Post noted that while Buthelezi held his own for the remainder of the fight, overall “ Dapudong appeared to have done more than enough to secure the verdict.”