Khalid Baker is left without a fight after one of the worst scale fails in boxing history.
The unbeaten cruiserweight was forced to drop out of Thursday’s show in his hometown of Flemington, Australia due to scheduled opponent Hayden Wright grossly missing weight. The 35-year old clubfighter from Perth weighed more than 40 pounds above the contracted 210-pound catchweight which in turn prompted an immediate cancellation.
“Unfortunately, the fight isn’t happening as my opponent couldn’t make the catchweight.” Baker stated while addressing his fans on Thursday. “It’s disappointing as I was looking forward to get back in the ring, put on a show for you all and show everyone where I’m at after a phenomenal six week training camp in Brisbane.”
Wright (2-13, 2KOs) traditionally campaigns as a heavyweight. Not only did he accept the fight at the lower weight but even generated media attention in Australia to his alleged commitment to fitness.
“I’ve been begging the promoter for this fight and now I’ve got it. I’m busting my (ass) in the gym and in the kitchen,” claimed Wright in a social media post days before the fight. “Looking to give Baker his first loss and upset the party. This fight I’m giving it my all as could be my last 16 weeks – 4 months no piss beer, no KFC chicken.”
Wright alleged to have lost roughly 55 pounds while interviewed by Australian media during training camp last December. Wednesday’s weigh-in result suggests either he quickly found it or simply managed to pull a fast one for the sake of capturing a few headlines in selling a false success story.
The disgraceful act comes at the expense of Baker (5-0, 2KOs), a 33-year old cruiserweight from Victoria, Australia who turned pro in 2019. The late start came after having been wrongfully imprisoned for 13 years from a 2005 murder conviction which he has continued to contest even after being released in 2018.
Prior to the conviction, Baker was a talented 18-year old amateur boxer and the national champion at welterweight who was due to represent Australia in the upcoming Commonwealth Games. A warehouse party left Baker in the wrong place at the wrong time, with an on-site brawl resulting in the death of 22-year old Albert Snowball.
Baker insisted that his lone role in the incident was rushing downstairs when he heard a crash and discovered the fallen body of Snowball, who was badly injured but still breathing by the time the ambulance arrived. Snowball was diagnosed with brain damage, passing away days later which in turn led to the arrest of Baker and another individual.
Those who continue to plead Baker’s case cite numerous inconsistencies in the testimony which eventually led to Baker being sentenced to 17 years in prison, which included a minimum 12 years prior to being eligible for parole. Among the discrepancies are the lack of an eyewitness and also conflicting accounts from multiple people on the scene.
“I didn’t murder no one,” Baker claimed upon hearing the verdict according to Melbourne Supreme Court transcripts.
I am innocent. I didn’t do nothing.”
Baker debuted in March 2019, scoring a 2nd round knockout of Stuart Stokes at The Melbourne Pavilion in Flemington where all of his pro bouts have taken place. Thursday’s contest was to have come at the venue as well, with adjusted plans now calling for Baker to return on April 9 in Sydney.
“I’ll be starting my training camp this Monday,” notes Baker. “I’m keeping the momentum up to be read for the next fight in April and for the rest of the year.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox