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By Michael Emons
BBC Sport at the 02 Arena, London
Boxing needs to use video technology to assist officials, says major promoter Eddie Hearn.
Britain’s Charlie Edwards seemed to be shedding his WBC flyweight belt if he had been counted out on Saturday from Mexico’s Julio Martinez in London.
But the battle was ruled a no-contest when replays showed Martinez had struck Edwards in the ribs after his knee and glove were on the canvas.
“Basically it was VAR for boxing and it was 100 percent correct,” said Hearn.
Video assistant referees (VAR) have been released into Premier League soccer this year to adjudicate on goals, penalties and potential reddish cards while cricket employs technology to judge on wickets, and golfing utilises the Hawk-Eye system to find out if the ball landed in.
During the next round of Saturday’s fight in the O2 Arena, Martinez struck at Edwards – protecting the name for the next time – using several body and head shots, forcing the Briton to place knee and a glove to the canvas.
Fighting should have ceased with the referee starting a count along with another boxer. Martinez , however, struck at Edwards in the ribs and also the Londoner was discovered out.
The capacity audience booed Martinez if the replays were shown on 12 big displays, again if he was declared as the winner, and during his post-fight interview.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman chose the conclusion from ringside, announcing that the bout a’no-contest’.
“It [the punch] was late that it was next week,” said Hearn. “If they played it was bad they could make a decision instantly. I didn’t expect them to take action and I’ve not seen anything like it.
“The WBC have a principle using video replays – they like to get it in-play however, also the British Boxing Board of Control and some other commissions do not.
“However, with all of the screens it up had been not easy for the president to say’it is a no contest, I don’t need to review or go before a committee – it is my choice’.
“I really don’t see a downside of doing this at a game where there’s so much online.”
A rematch was immediately purchased by sulaiman, and Edwards felt verdict’s change was right.
“I needed a knee for a goal,” added that the Londoner. “He finished off me with a body shot and I couldn’t recover.
“Cheaters never prosper. We get this ring to abide by the rules.”
The result signifies Edwards kept his belt along with his list of 15 wins and just one loss.
On occasion it’s taken up to 2 minutes before a decision has been made on the legitimacy of a goal, there’s been criticism of the length of the flaws, since the debut of VAR in the Premier League. Hearn said decisions would be quicker in fights.
“It’s not like it will impede boxing down – that is what folks say about football and cricket,” said Hearn.
“The press and everyone is discussing it and it is a question where fans will say’why not?’
“There is maybe an excessive amount of VAR in football but it could be minimal cases in boxing – they would not refer to it every round but where it’s an important choice and something that could affect someone’s livelihood and livelihood.
“If you lose a belt you are no longer winner and it’s the difference between earning #1m and #50,000, we have to get it directly.”
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