Promoter Bob Arum saw a clear infraction take place during the controversial fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Daniel Dubois.
Last month, unified heavyweight champion Usyk of Ukraine successfully defended his belts against London’s Dubois by earning a stoppage in the ninth round in front of a boisterous sell-out stadium crowd in Wroclaw, Poland.
But all the talk post-fight centered on the fifth round, when Usyk collapsed to the canvas after absorbing a right hand to the body. Referee Luis Pabon ruled the punch as a low blow and gave Usyk nearly four minutes to recover. Opinion has been split as to what the correct call should have been, with Dubois partisans arguing that the punch was borderline and thus should have been deemed legal.
Earlier this week, Frank Warren, Dubois’ promoter, filed a formal appeal with the WBA, which oversaw the fight, in an attempt to get the fight overturned as a no-contest.
But while Warren and Co. have repeatedly stressed that their charge landed a clean blow, his promotional partner, Arum of Top Rank, apparently does not feel that there was anything wrong with the referee's verdict.
“Maybe the referee gave him too long to recover, but I watched it on television, it was a low blow,” Arum told iFL TV.
Arum then added that he felt that Dubois had “quit,” when he took a knee in the ninth-round after absorbing a right hand jab from the southpaw Usyk.
“It seemed to me Dubois, after throwing that low blow, quit,” Arum said. “Why he did, I don’t know. I don’t know.”
The IBF is expected to order Usyk’s next mandatory fight, possibly against Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic.
But that option can be superseded if Usyk is able to strike a deal to face WBC titlist Tyson Fury, a client of both Arum and Warren, for the undisputed heavyweight championship. Fury is scheduled to take on former UFC champion Francis Ngannou in a crossover bout on Oct. 28 in Saudi Arabia.
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.