By Jake Donovan
The good news for Krzysztof Glowacki is that he will be afforded a chance to become a three-time cruiserweight titlist.
An unfortunate downside, however, is that he’s forced to sit on a controversial loss while watching his conqueror move forward with his own career.
Efforts by Glowacki’s camp to overturn a knockout loss to Mairis Briedis proved unsuccessful, as it relates to an official appeal filed with the World Boxing Organization (WBO). Their June 15 clash—which served as a World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) cruiserweight tournament semifinals contest in Brieidis’ native Riga, Latvia—ended with Glowacki floored three times en route to a 3rd round stoppage.
The wild ending, however, was marred by a controversial round two which referee Robert Byrd allowed to continue well after the bell had sounded. The inept handling of the round—including a pair of intentional fouls delivered by both boxers earlier in the frame—left Glowacki the victim of a second knockdown that never should have come about.
All of it was included in an official protest filed by Glowacki’s promoter, Andrew Wasilewski with the WBO and the Latvian Boxing Commission. The hope was for the knockout loss to be overturned—either to a No-Contest, or a disqualification on the basis of Briedis landing an elbow across Glowacki’s face in round two—and for an immediate rematch to be ordered.
No such luck.
“[T]he World Boxing Organization lacks subject matter jurisdiction to disqualify WBO Participant Briedis for any and all actions incur by such fighter during the course of the bout against WBO Participant Glowacki,” Luis Batista Salas, chairman of WBO Championship Committee noted in an official statement. “Such ruling and/or determination lies under the authority and jurisdiction of the Latvia Boxing Federation.
Further noted in the ruling was that the WBO “ lacks subject matter jurisdiction and authority to reverse and/or overturn an official bout result of Technical Knockout (TKO) to a “No Contest,” once again deferring such a ruling to the Latvian commission.
The battle of former cruiserweight titlists became a major title fight after the WBO derecognized Aleksandr Usyk—former undisputed cruiserweight champion and WBSS Season one winner—as its claimant less than two weeks prior to the contest.
Glowacki (31-2, 19KOs) had initially entered the WBSS semifinals as an interim titlist, earning such distinction following a 12-round win over Maksim Vlasov in their quarterfinals contest last October in Chicago, Ill. The same card saw Briedis (26-1, 19KOs)—a WBSS season semifinalist—also advance via disputed 12-round decision win over Noel Gevor.
However questionable was the scoring in that fight pales in comparison to how Briedis has now stormed into the finals.
A slugfest was promised in their June bout and lived up to the billing. Sadly, it devolved into a foul fest and a brutal exposing of just how far along Byrd—once among the game’s top officials—is in his own career.
Harming Glowacki’s protest was a discovery upon full review where the elbow thrown by Briedis was preceded by—and in response to—a vicious left hand thrown by the 32-year old southpaw which landed on the base of Briedis’ skull. The local favorite even admitted after the fight that he intentionally threw the elbow, though apologizing for the tactic.
It doesn’t make it any more forgivable, nor Byrd’s mishandling of the remainder of the round. Despite the foul being intentional, the 74-year old referee only deducted one point while also urging Glowacki to rise to his feet and continue rather than allowing him sufficient time to recover from the intentional foul.
Briedis seized the moment, twice flooring Glowacki in the round. The second of the two came well after the bell, getting louder with each clang in desperate efforts to get the attention of Byrd who cluelessly allowed action to continue.
It cost Glowacki another knockdown as Brieidis kept fighting and sent him to the canvas following an assortment of punches which was punctuated by a right hand. Byrd issued a count despite everyone screaming that the round had ended, to which he lectured the ringside officials that he couldn’t hear the bell.
Everyone else certainly did.
“I heard the bell,” admitted Briedis, who instead chose to protect himself at all times.
Briedis finished off a still groggy Glowacki, flooring him early in round three. Byrd started his count before realizing the visiting Pole was done for the night.
Because the Latvian commission is the only authority involved who can overturn the verdict—and hasn’t yet made such a ruling—Glowacki, for the moment, is forced to accept the knockout defeat.
Additionally, the structure of the WBSS tournament prevents the WBO from ordering an immediate rematch. Instead, the series will move forward with its finals pairing between Briedis and Yunier Dorticos, who scored a clean highlight reel 10th round knockout of previously unbeaten Andrew Tabiti in the evening’s co-feature attraction.
Their bout is due to take place later this year, with the date and location to be determined. The best that the WBO can offer is to allow Glowacki to serve as an interested observer with a promised crack at the winner.
“The WBO World Championship Committee hereby strongly recommends that the winner of the World Boxing Super Series Tournament defends his WBO [Cruiserweight] Championship Title against WBO Participant Glowacki within one-hundred twenty days (120) after the competition of said tournament,” Batista-Salas noted. “This Committees’ ruling is subject to acceptance by the World Boxing Super Series Tournament within the following forty-eight (48) hours upon official issuance of this Resolution.
“If the World Boxing Super Series Tournament Officials do not accept and/or reject this Committees’ ruling, we shall determine a further ruling in accordance to our WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox