WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has a hot proposition for the “Ring of Fire” fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury on May 18 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

With the undisputed heavyweight title on the line in the blockbuster fight, Sulaiman wants to avoid a potential judging catastrophe by instituting six judges instead of the customary three.

Sulaiman sent an emergency petition last month to the WBO, WBA and IBF, as well as Fury and Usyk and their promoters, requesting a green light for the six-judge panel.

Bob Arum, Top Rank’s CEO and Fury’s co-promoter, is opposed to the idea.  

“You don't put in something like that for the first time dealing with a major fight from the standpoint of visibility and importance,” Arum told BoxingScene. 

“Maybe six judges are better than three. I doubt that, but maybe. Nobody knows because it hasn't been done. But at least you experiment with that with fights that are not as prominent. With all due respect to my friend Mauricio – who's a really good guy, loves the sport of boxing and has done a great job with the WBC – I wouldn't do it for this fight. I wouldn't say that you don't experiment with it for another fight. I don't believe the judging becomes better because you have six judges rather than three.”

Sulaiman believes that if more judges score the fight, there will be less probability of silly and controversial scorecards should a judge have a bad night.

Frank Warren, Queensberry Promotions’ boss and Fury’s co-promoter, has separately dismissed the idea of six judges.

As Sulaiman waits for the blessing of his idea, he recently had Pope Francis personally bless and sign a WBC commemorative belt that will be awarded to the winner.

Fury and Usyk will have a rematch regardless of the result, and Arum noted it could take place as early as October for the opening of Riyadh Season in Saudi Arabia.

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.