October 3, 2014
From Bob Yalen, WBC Supervisor at the September 27 cruiserweight world title fight in Moscow:
Instant replay was successfully used in Russia at the September 27th WBC Cruiserweight title fight between defending champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk of Poland and Grigory Drozd of Russia. The concept of instant replay was agreed with Igor Mazurov of the Russian Professional Boxing Federation prior to the event, and he enthusiastically supported it. It was then discussed with the promoters, World of Boxing LLC, who verified its use along with the host broadcaster.
In the 7th round, Drozd was cut by what appeared to be a punch. At the close of the round the referee, Ian-John Lewis of Great Britain, notified the officials he had called it as a legal blow but he stated that he had been somewhat blocked and a review might be in order; the reason being that the outcome of the fight could be changed depending upon the severity of the cut as the fight went on. This was the difference between a technical knockout and a technical decision.
I informed the corners I was calling for the instant replay to be used, and signaled for the Russian broadcaster to show us the replays at ringside. Of note was that the promoter and the broadcaster had put an excellent HD monitor directly next to me for our use. Representatives of both corners were invited over as we were to screen the video, and the champion’s representatives were already proclaiming loudly the cut was caused by a punch. Because of the language barrier it took the Russian broadcaster longer than anticipated to cue up the video of what we wanted. Once the broadcaster had cued it to the point we wanted it became clear that a butt indeed had caused the cut, and we notified the referee, who in turn notified the officials. Even Wlodarczyk’s corner conceded the cut had indeed been caused by an accidental head butt.
This was a case of Instant Replay working perfectly as intended. The referee admitted there was some doubt, and the reply showed the cause conclusively. If the cut had been ruled as caused by a legal punch as initially was called for, and it worsened to the point of stoppage, than the champion would have won by a TKO. As it was, the replay showed the correct call as an accidental butt, and if the cut worsened a technical decision would have been called for.
Everyone and everything worked in unison to bring about the correct result using Instant Replay (though the broadcaster could have brought it up a little quicker, but that was excusable) – a perfect example of how and when it should be used.