By Jake Donovan
Just when the World Boxing Super Series seemed to once again hit its stride, there comes another bump in the road.
The cruiserweight finals clash between Mairis Briedis and Krzysztof Glowacki—which took place last weekend in Riga, Latvia—will soon be officially under protest, BoxingScene.com has learned.
Andrew Wasilewski, Glowacki’s promoter in his native Poland is in the process of filing a formal complaint with WBSS tournament organizers, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and the Latvian Professional Boxing Federation.
Briedis scored three knockdowns en route to a 3rd round knockout in dethroning Glowacki. However, the bout was laced in controversy.
Both boxers were guilty of blatant fouls in round two—Glowacki landed a left hand to the base of Briedis’ skull, which was met by a vicious elbow across the Pole’s chin in sending him to the canvas.
The sequence nearly went unrecognized by American referee Robert Byrd, once among the sport’s very best but who is clearly past prime and was completely lost in his role as third man on Saturday. His initial reaction to the foul was urging Glowacki (31-2, 19KOs) to get up, before realizing what took place.
Briedis (26-1, 19KOs) was deducted one point for the foul, although intentional fouls are normally subject to a two-point deduction. Further review could actually overturn the verdict altogether and render it a disqualification.
Once action resumed, local hero Briedis took over. He caught Glowacki cold, sending him to the canvas just before the end of round two. The Polish southpaw—who was upgraded from WBO interim to full titlist earlier this month—beat the count and appeared to make it to the bell and out of harm’s way.
That’s if Byrd did his job and recognized the round had ended. Instead, he allowed action to continue for nearly another 10 seconds, long enough for Briedis to pummel Glowacki and once again send him to the canvas. The sequence was ruled a knockdown, to the disbelief of Glowacki’s corner who by this point was standing on the ring apron signaling that the round had ended.
Byrd instead issued a count and then was ready to allow action to continue until the timekeeper frantically rang the bell as loud as possible to alert the third man the frame had long ended.
Glowacki was done by that point, with Briedis picking off the carcass in the early seconds of round three. A third and final knockdown was scored, this time with Byrd ending the fight.
The win earned Briedis a second tour as a cruiserweight titlist and a trip to the WBSS finals versus Yunier Dorticos, who scored a clean 10th round knockout of Andrew Tabiti in the evening’s co-main event. However, the Latvian’s status both as a two-time titlist and a tournament finalist are now up in the air as this one goes to the video tape.
All governing bodies involved declined comment to BoxingScene.com as the protest has yet to be formally filed.
Should the final decision remain intact, Brieidis will face Dorticos in the WBSS tournament finals later this year, with the date and location to be determined.
In the event of an overturned verdict, the outcome will ultimately dictate the necessary next steps to take in order to provide clarity.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox