The handlers for Maxim Vlasov (45-4, 26 KOs) have filed a protest with the World Boxing Organization over the officiating for this past Saturday's fight in Tulsa, where the Russian boxer lost a twelve round majority decision to Joe Smith (27-3, 21 KOs).

Based on scores of 114-114, 115-113 and 115-112 - Smith walked away with the vacant WBO light heavyweight title.

The contest was very close, with Smith pulling out a win in the final two rounds.

“This was a very hard-fought, competitive fight," Vlasov said in the aftermath. "I thought I was winning rounds and was well ahead. Against the aggressive style of Joe Smith, I came forward the entire fight. I felt confident I was winning and was securing rounds in the bank with the judges. I never felt that I was behind at any stage of the fight. This was my opportunity to show the world I was a world champion, and I did that, and Joe Smith knows I did that.” 

According to Vlasov's manager, Oleg Bogdanov, a protest has been filed with the WBO - regarding the officiating and the lack of drug testing. They want an immediate rematch to be ordered.

“We filed a protest with the WBO, we do not agree with the decision of the judges," said Bogdanov to Tass.

"We consider [the officiating] biased, we believe that the qualifications of the judges do not correspond to the level of this fight. We also indicated that there was no proper doping control protocol. Maxim did not take a test at all.

"We don't think the outcome will be voided, but we're insisting on a rematch because of the violations committed."