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By Michael Emons
BBC Sport at the 02 Arena, London
Boxing needs to use technology to assist officials, says promoter Eddie Hearn.
When he was counted out on Saturday against Mexico’s Julio Martinez at London britain’s Charlie Edwards seemed to be shedding his WBC flyweight belt.
But the fight was ruled a no-contest when replays showed Martinez had punched Edwards from the ribs after his knee and glove were about the canvas.
“Essentially it was VAR for boxing and it was 100% right,” said Hearn.
Video assistant referees (VAR) have been introduced into Premier League soccer this season to adjudicate on goals, penalties and potential red cards while cricket employs technology to gauge on wickets, and golfing utilises the Hawk-Eye system to find out if the ball landed in.
During the next round Saturday’s fight at the O2 Arena, Martinez hit at Edwards – defending the title for the next time – using quite a few head and body shots, forcing the Briton to set knee and a glove on the canvas.
When that occurred, fighting should’ve stopped with the referee beginning the other boxer and a count. Edwards from the ribs struck at and the Londoner, rolling in pain, had been discovered out.
The capacity audience booed Martinez if the replays were shown on 12 large screens, again if he was declared as the winner, and also during his post-fight interview.
After viewing the replays, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman overruled the decision announcing that the bout a’no-contest’.
“It [the punch] was late it was following week,” said Hearn. “After they played it was bad they were able to make a determination immediately. I didn’t expect them to do it and I have not seen anything similar to it.
“The WBC possess a guideline using video replays – they like to have it in-play however, the British Boxing Board of Control and various other commissions don’t.
“But with all the displays up it was not easy for the president to say’it is a no contest, I don’t have to review or go in front of a committee – it is my decision’.
“I really don’t see a downside of doing this at a game where there is so much on the line.”
A rematch was ordered by sulaiman, and Edwards felt verdict’s reversal was right.
“I took a knee for a goal,” added that the Londoner. “He finished me off having a body shot and I couldn’t recover.
“Cheaters never prosper. We get this ring to stick by the rules”
The result implies Edwards retained his list of 15 wins and one loss along with his belt.
On occasion it has taken up to two minutes prior to a decision has been made on the validity of a objective, there has been criticism of the amount of the flaws, since the introduction of VAR from the Premier League. Hearn said choices would be much faster in conflicts.
“It is not like it will impede boxing down – that is what people say about soccer and cricket,” said Hearn.
“The press and everyone is talking about it and it is a question where lovers may say’why not?’
“There’s maybe an excessive amount of VAR in football but it would be minimal instances in boxing – they wouldn’t refer to it each round but in which it’s an important choice and something that could affect a person’s livelihood and livelihood.
“If you get rid of a belt you’re no longer winner and it’s the difference between earning 1m and #50,000, we must get it right.”
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