By Ahmet Öner
First of all I want to apologize for all the confusion in this fight. And I want to point out that I never meant to cheat on Danny in any way. If it would have been my goal to steal the victory from him I wouldn’t have thrown in the towel at a point were Konstantin was leading on all scorecards.
To me the first couple of rounds between Konstantin Airich and Danny Williams have been the most entertaining I’ve seen in a while in heavyweight boxing. Konstantin showed a great performance and impressed Danny with his enormous power and very hard hands and sent him to the canvas a couple of times. The way Danny recovered from that and came back to win the fight with all his experience was very impressive as well. The main problem of the fight, however, was very poor refereeing and the officials of the local commission.
Regarding this I want to make clear that the show was only co-promoted by ARENA and we didn’t bring German officials to Spain but worked with the local commission in Bilbao. I didn’t know anybody of the officials before the fight and to me they really turned this great bout into a farce. The referee was at no point in control of the action inside the ring. When Danny’s tape loosened from his glove the ref wouldn’t stop the bout to have it fixed. At one point the ref even tried to wrap the tape around the glove himself which looked really stupid to me after that he even ripped it off completely. In addition to that he warned Danny and deducted points in strange situations, he gave him a standing eight-count which wouldn’t have happened in Germany and he saw knockdowns where the fighters obviously slipped. The supervisor did nothing to correct the referee and what the timekeepers did was the biggest disgrace. They stopped the breaks prematurely and had one round – I think it was the 5th – going for 3:30.
Because the fight was very exciting but disturbed by poor refereeing I got very angry and started to argue with the officials. Additionally I had heard after the 3rd round that Konstantin had problems with his left hand and seemed to be seriously injured. So when Danny started to attack Konstantin in the 6th I shouted at the officials to stop the fight. Actually Konstantin’s trainer didn’t think that his fighter was in danger so he didn’t throw in the towel what would have been the best at this point of time. I thought Konstantin might get knocked out hard as I know that Danny can do some damage. So I kept on shouting ‘Stop the fight!’ and meant that it should have been a tko for Danny at this point. This situation led to the ringing of the bell with 1:30 to go in the round. As the officials acted as if nothing had happened and just started the 7th round after a break I threw in the towel to end all discussions. I never meant to cheat on Danny or to steal the victory from him. Otherwise I wouldn’t have thrown the towel in.
Unlike other (German) promoters I stand for boxing as a sport. I want to see interesting fights and great action inside the ring. That’s why I do the aggressive matchmaking I’m known for. No other promoter in the world would have let a guy with only 10 pro-fights take on a world class fighter like Danny Williams. In addition to that I didn’t do the fight on German soil or with German officials like other German promoters do it to control the judging. We went to neutral soil which proved to be a mistake as this local commission really did a bad job. I think the first half of the fight showed that it was a good match-up. That this was ruined by poor refereeing teaches me not to work with inexperienced referees and officials again. And I regret the mistake I made in choosing Bilbao as place for the fight to happen.
I hope that Danny understands my motives and what happened in Bilbao. And I hope that he didn’t mean to accuse me personally but point on a problem we have in professional boxing in general: Promoters impinging on officials to have their fighters win. This might be a typical German problem but I am not a typical German promoter – I am Turkish; I work internationally; and I am a boxing fan as well which means I want to see great fights with fair decisions. Everybody who accuses me personally should not forget that it was me who ended the fight in favour of Danny and that I saw Sinan Samil Sam losing to Oliver McCall in Ankara one year ago which wouldn’t have happened one of the other ‘typical German promoters’.
After all I hope that Danny gives Konstantin a rematch one day after he recovers from his broken hand because I think Konstantin deserves it as he really showed a hack of a fight which shouldn’t be forgotten besides all the anger and confusion.