WBC Lauds Their Usage of Instant Replay

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.

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COMMENTS

-Radam G :

Smooth sailing on that occasion, but will it continue? NO! It wll become political and cheat object. It will be no different from referees stopping fights for phantom reasons, because they are incompetence or were in on a fix of the bout ending in a certain round. Holla!


-Kid Blast :

Why can't the mecca of boxing--Las Vegas--not have Instant Replay? It would close the subjectivity gap to some degree.


-The Commish :

Many times, things that happen during the course of a round are not caught by the referee, who, in essence, is the cop on duty, the person who is there to enforce the rules. The commission is the rest of the police bureau, to whom the cop answers. A cop can't be in all places at all times, and sometimes laws and rules are broken out of site of the cop's eyes. A headbutt. A low blow. A bite. A thumb to the eye. An elbow. A forearm. A rabbit punch. An intentional twist of the arm. The spitting out of a mouthpiece. Perhaps a TV camera has caught a cornerman intentionally puncturing a glove to gift tthere dazed fighter more rest while the damaged glove is changed (Angelo Dundee with Muhammad Ali in 1963). Obviously, there are more fight cards which are NOT on television than cards which ARE being covered by a TV network. Making Instant Replay mandatory would require cameras at every fight. Who pays the expense for thhose cameras, the monitors, the equipment and the crew which operates the equipment? The commission? No budget. The promoter? Go tell apromoter who is already paying the fighters, the building rental, the state taxes, the officials, the medicals and a few more expenses that he/she now has to pay even more for a camera crew. Can you hear the hollering and screaming? However, if the show IS being televised, cameras and crew are already in place. In those instances, and at the discretion of the commission, I think Instant Replay should be allowed. I think more times than not, IR can be a useful tool--as seen in the case of Wlodarczyk vs Drozd--which can aid in the fair ruling on what just may determine the outcome of a boxing match. I say if the cameras are already in place and they indeed pick up something thereferee has not seen, they should be used. I am definitely in favor of Instant Replay. -Randy G.


-oubobcat :

I like the use of instant replay as long as it is done correctly. And by that I mean not stopping the action of the fight but used to review cuts and potentially change rulings as far as whether caused by a punch or head butt in between rounds or to stop a fight. The WBC may be doing a decent job with instant replay but I hate open scoring and wish they would put an end to this practice. It takes the drama out of fights and causes fighters to unnecessarily alter their strategy in the course of a bout. Say one guy for example knows he's ahead after eight and just goes on the bicycle the last four rounds to coast it out down the stretch because the fight is in the bag. Or the Canelo-Trout example where we all knew, including Canelo and Trout, that Trout was behind to the point he needed a knockdown or knockout to win (though the fight should have been much closer). Both fought differently the last four rounds and when it went to the cards there was no drama in the outcome. I hate it and they need to stop this practice.


-Radam G :

Many times, things that happen during the course of a round are not caught by the referee, who, in essence, is the cop on duty, the person who is there to enforce the rules. The commission is the rest of the police bureau, to whom the cop answers. A cop can't be in all places at all times, and sometimes laws and rules are broken out of site of the cop's eyes. A headbutt. A low blow. A bite. A thumb to the eye. An elbow. A forearm. A rabbit punch. An intentional twist of the arm. The spitting out of a mouthpiece. Perhaps a TV camera has caught a cornerman intentionally puncturing a glove to gift tthere dazed fighter more rest while the damaged glove is changed (Angelo Dundee with Muhammad Ali in 1963). Obviously, there are more fight cards which are NOT on television than cards which ARE being covered by a TV network. Making Instant Replay mandatory would require cameras at every fight. Who pays the expense for thhose cameras, the monitors, the equipment and the crew which operates the equipment? The commission? No budget. The promoter? Go tell apromoter who is already paying the fighters, the building rental, the state taxes, the officials, the medicals and a few more expenses that he/she now has to pay even more for a camera crew. Can you hear the hollering and screaming? However, if the show IS being televised, cameras and crew are already in place. In those instances, and at the discretion of the commission, I think Instant Replay should be allowed. I think more times than not, IR can be a useful tool--as seen in the case of Wlodarczyk vs Drozd--which can aid in the fair ruling on what just may determine the outcome of a boxing match. I say if the cameras are already in place and they indeed pick up something thereferee has not seen, they should be used. I am definitely in favor of Instant Replay. -Randy G.
Go further and get rid of the referee. I'm in favor of laser-eyes robots. Hehe! There will never be a mistake or cheat. Holla!