Krzysztof Glowacki has spent the past several months hoping for a reversal of fortunes.
In the end, the jury was split and leaves an opening for whether he will have a clear shot at redemption.
The World Boxing Organization (WBO) offered its final ruling on an appeal awarding Glowacki the opportunity to avenge his controversial loss to Mairis Briedis, as per a 2-1 vote among the WBO World Championship Committe (WWCC).
The ruling, however, does not prevent Briedis from moving forward with the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) finals if he so chooses—it will just potentially come without the blessing of the WBO.
“Glowacki’s appeal is denied in part and granted in part and the WBO Championship Committee Resolution issued on July 17th , 2019 is modified as stated in the majority opinion,” Fernando J. Gierbolini, chairman of the WBO World Championship Committee (WWCC) noted in a final ruling Friday evening which was to all involved parties, and a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com. “The parties are advised that pursuant to the §34 of the WBO Regulations this Award is the final decision on the merits of the Appeal.”
Latvia’s Briedis reclaimed a cruiserweight title with a 3rd round knockout of Glowacki in their June 15 WBSS semifinal bout in his Riga hometown. In doing so, he advances to the final round, although that matter remains in dispute.
Briedis—who participated in season one of the WBSS tournament and lost in the semifinal round to eventual champion Oleksandr Usyk—flirted with disqualification after throwing an elbow across the face of Glowacki (31-2, 19KOs). By his own on-air admission, he not only intentionally committed the foul but did so in retaliation to previously being struck with a rabbit punch by the Polish southpaw in a wild 2nd round that would only get worse.
Referee Robert Byrd mishandled the sequence, only demanding one point deducted from Briedis’ scorecard instead of the mandatory two-point deduction that comes with intentional fouls. The veteran ring official also never allotted Glowacki the full five-minute period to recover from the foul, all of which were included in both appeals.
Briedis went on to floor Glowacki three times, the worst of which came well after the bell repeatedly sounded in what should have marked the end of round two. Byrd never heard the bell, and Briedis chose to fight on–protecting himself at all times—which resulted in the second knockdown. Glowacki beat a count that never should’ve been issued, with Byrd prepared to still allow the extended round to continue until finally being made to realize the error.
A third and final knockdown early in round three marked the end of the fight. The win allowed Briedis to advance to the WBSS final round versus Yuniel Dorticos (24-1, 22KOs), who joined him in far more emphatic and conclusive fashion in scoring a highlight reel 10th round knockout of Andrew Tabiti in the evening’s co-feature.
An immediate protest was filed by Glowacki’s promoter, Andrew Wasilewski in hopes of having the official outcome changed to a disqualification win or a No-Contest. The WBO’s initial ruling on the matter upon review was for the WBSS final bout to take place and with the winner mandated to face Glowacki within 120 days. Further, the sanctioning body insisted that any such effort to overturn the official verdict of the contest would reside among the local commission.
However, the Latvian commission responded two days later that the bout was in fact fought under the auspices of the WBSS rules and with all officials appointed by the WBO. Additionally, came the startling revelation that neither the evening’s participants nor the referee were licensed by the local commission, therefore lacking any such jurisdiction.
Glowacki’s team used that distinction to place the matter back in the hands of the WBO, who were admittedly torn on the subject and their final verdict—in essence—coming down to a split decision.
Final analysis by the WWCC proposed the following in a 2-1 vote.
1) A direct return fight is ordered between Glowacki and Briedis within one hundred twenty (120) days after the issuance of this Award.
2) It is strongly recommended to the WBSS Tournament to consider scheduling the Final of said Tournament to take place after the direct return fight ordered above. If our recommendation is accepted, the Tournament Finals should be between the IBF Jr. Heavyweight Champion Mr. Yuniel Dorticos and the winner of the direct return fight hereby ordered.
3) If Briedis does not comply with the direct return fight hereby ordered, the WBO Jr. Heavyweight Championship Title shall be declared vacant.
4) If the WBO Jr. Heavyweight Championship Title is declared vacant, Glowacki shall be given the opportunity of fighting for that Title against the next ranked boxer in the WBO Jr. Heavyweight Division.
While agreeing with the sentiment of the proposed resolution, the committee chairman considered all parties affected by such a declaration in choosing to break from the group in honoring the original ruling.
“I concur with the majority opinion’s holdings that this Committee lacks jurisdiction to reverse or overturn the result of the Bout,” noted Gierbolini, though with a sudden plot twist. “However, I respectfully dissent from the Committee’s holding that the WBO World Championship Committee’s (“WWCC”) Resolution did not provide Appellant with adequate relief and the Committee’s reversal of the Resolution on those grounds.
After acknowledging all of the proper steps taken, Gierbolini agreed in part but also noted “other considerations also move me to dissent from the majority opinion, these being the context of the Bout. The Bout was part of the World Boxing Super Series, an annual tournament designed to bring together the “best of the best fighters.” Part of the draw thereof is the elimination-style tournament format which, by design, would result in a winner-take-all titles finals.
“By ordering a rematch between the parties prior to the resolution of the WBSS, the majority opinion is enabling a situation through which the WBO Jr. Heavyweight Championship may not be in contention for the remainder of the WBSS, in case of a direct rematch prior to the WBSS Finals and a victory by Appellant. Moreover, ordering a direct rematch prior to WBSS Finals would not just affect the WBSS, but other third parties. As is known, Dorticos is the other WBSS finalist. A direct rematch prior to the WBSS Finals would undoubtedly delay the WBSS Finals and Dorticos’ opportunity to face the other finalist.
Added the chairman: “By this token, the majority opinion presents a contradiction: a delay in competing for the WBO title is the same rationale employed in the majority opinion to reverse the WWCC’s determination. However, the majority opinion deems proper a delay affecting the rights of an absent third-party.
“Moreover, if Appellant’s age is part of the rationale of the majority opinion, this rationale is inapplicable because Dorticos is older than Appellant. In this vein, I understand that the majority opinion violates both Dorticos’ and the WBSS’s rights to due process. Their rights are indubitably affected by the majority opinion, without having been afforded any chance to be heard at any stage during these proceedings. Tellingly, the majority opinion recognizes as much, because it seeks the WBSS’s input ex post facto.
“Specifically, the majority opinion recommends that the WBSS both schedule the WBSS Finals after the direct rematch and that the winner of the direct rematch be considered the WBSS Finalist who would fight Dorticos. The majority is, in effect, recommending that the Bout be declared a no-contest, after conceding that it does not have jurisdiction to do so and denying Appellant’s request to that effect. In sum, the majority opinion misapplies the correct standard of review, glosses over key facts that invalidate its rationale, fosters unsportsmanlike conduct, violates third-parties’ right to due process, and exceeds the powers of this Committee. For these reasons, I respectfully dissent.”
Strangely, the ruling was seen as a victory for Briedis in the eyes of Comosa AG (and, erroneously, by BoxingScene.com at first glance), who plan to move forward with the WBSS tournament in current form. Kalle Sauerland revealed during an appearance on 'Before the Bell' of his plans to advance the tournament, although it will no longer take place on December 14 as previously suggested.
Meanwhile, Glowacki will have the option of waiting out the winner or considering other opportunities. The two-time titlist has an avenue to pursue a fight with Ilunga ‘Junior’ Makabu for the World Boxing Council (WBC) cruiserweight title, as the Mexico-based organization recently ordered the contest during the Ratings portion of its annual convention earlier this week in Cancun, Mexico.
That said, his intention is to reclaim his WBO title.
"The WBO ruling is a victory for Glowacki—a split decision victory, but a victory nonetheless," Scott Shaffer, attorney for Glowacki and Knockout Poland told BoxingScene.com."Glowacki will be fighting for the WBO championship in his next fight. If Briedis doesn't want to give him a rematch, he is free to go the WBSS final, but cannot take the championship with him and will have to go in as the challenger to Dorticos."
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox