Kevin Lerena has taken issue with the officiating in his loss to Daniel Dubois, citing a short round and quick stoppage as preventing him from his chance at the WBA Regular World Title.
The most thrilling fight of the night on the Tyson Fury and Derek Chisora card was also shrouded in confusion and controversy.
Dubois – the champion and heavy favourite – got caught on the top of the head by the first significant shot his South African opponent and former cruiserweight, Lerena, landed. The home fighter hit the canvas but beat the count.
He would go on to take a knee twice in the round from pressure by Lerena, totalling three knockdowns. He beat the count each time, although was noticeably moving different – later thought to be a twisted knee paired with the effects of the hard punch.
The round ended during Dubois’ third count on a bell which came, as Lerena points out, early.
“I landed him flush on the top of the head which obviously sent shockwaves down his body, resulting in obviously a twisted ankle or knee, whatever it was – but let’s not forget that the punch that dropped him is what damaged his leg.
Then obviously he gets back up to his feet unsure of what happened. I try put the pressure on him again, he takes a knee. The ref counts him up again. He gets back to his feet, I try put the pressure on him again to end him. He takes a knee, and then there was that moment which the round was obviously ended at 2 minutes 49 seconds, which allowed Daniel to go back to his corner and recover.”
“In his corner he said to his trainer ‘what happened?’ So he obviously didn’t see the shot that landed him and was not compos mentis.”
“I do feel we were hard done by the end of the round because a lot can happen in 11 seconds. Had I managed to get another flurry in on him, land him with telling shots like I landed him that dropped him, it could have been the end of the fight.”
Part 2️⃣ of 4️⃣ … Discussing my success in round 1 ⚡️also the unfortunate early end to the round which was at 2min49seconds without a 10 second “ clap “ countdown !! That was a major mistake by the BBBoC, mistakes which shouldn’t happen in such big fights 🥊 pic.twitter.com/rliOg7ScpY
— Kevin Lerena (@Kevlerenaboxing) December 6, 2022
Whilst there have been instances of the broadcast clock being out of sync with the timekeeper, the round has been counted and, from bell to bell, does indeed end at 2 minutes 50 seconds – 10 short of the rules.
Lerena also takes issue with the stoppage in the third. After a tentative second round, the still-injured Dubois had him hurt and went all out. The flurry of power punches which ended the fight came right on the bell, and it was waved off by Howard Foster.
“He caught with me a superb uppercut through the middle. When he caught me I felt it happening the whole time, so it wasn’t like I wasn’t there or didn’t know what was happening. I then heard the bell go at the end of the round, and that was it, it was over.
So obviously I was hurt from being dropped and I got rocked on the ropes, but I wasn’t down on my back. I honestly feel I should’ve been given the minute to recover like Daniel was given the minute to recover. Obviously referee Howard Foster didn’t feel that way, but I believe in cases like this, in championship fights, you have to give the fighter the benefit of the doubt to recover.”
Lerena is calling for a rematch not only because of this discrepancy, but because he knows that it would be an explosive encounter for fans. He went on to praise Daniel and reveal that there was no bad blood between them.
Despite his good-natured approach, his promoter – Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves SA – is taking a stronger stance. He announced that they would be lodging a complaint with the WBA on the basis of Howard Foster’s handling of the bout.
“An objection will be lodged with the WBA and the British Boxing Board of Control – Lerena was very hard done by by a biased “loyal referee.“ Fighters cannot be allowed to be treated so unfairly.
An objection will be lodged with the WBA & the British Boxing Board of Control- Lerena was very hard done by ,by a biased “loyal referee “ Fighters cannot be allowed to be treated so unfairly
— Rodney Berman (@GoldenGlovesSA) December 5, 2022
There has been no official comment on the matter from the UK promoters, WBA, or the BBBofC.