Daniel Dubois’ bid to have his defeat against Oleksandr Usyk changed to a no-contest owing to a debatable low-blow call has been rejected by the WBA.
Usyk retained his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles with a ninth-round knockout in August but the result was overshadowed by what happened earlier on when he was dropped to the canvas in some distress.
Referee Luis Pabon immediately ruled Dubois’ brutal right hook in the fifth round to be below the waist and Usyk was allowed nearly four minutes to recover before going on to dominate the rest of the fight.
Pabon’s decision infuriated Dubois and his team, with promoter Frank Warren last month officially appealing as he lobbied the WBA to overturn the result and order an immediate rematch.
But an independent panel stood behind Pabon’s decision while the WBA, in announcing it was upholding the original result, revealed its rules dictated that the referee has the final say in these matters.
A statement on the WBA’s website said: “After studying all the documents, the conclusions of all the instances and the internal rules of the WBA, it was determined that the appeal does not proceed and the decision of the fight stands with the victory and defence of the champion Usyk.
“The supervisors of the fight were Carlos Ortiz (IBF), Ed Levine (IBO), Thomas Puetz (WBO) and Jesper Jensen (WBA). The supervisor of the pioneer body, Jensen, determined that referee Luis Pabon made the correct decision regarding the punch which he considered an accidental low blow.
“With the supervisor’s opinion, the WBA decided to send the case to the International Officials Committee, who on September 11, issued their review and found that there was no clear and conclusive evidence that the original decision made by Pabon on Dubois’ punch to Usyk was wrong.
“They also concluded that no TV clip had evidence that the decision was incorrect. In addition, they asserted that “the original decision of the low blow must stand, as there is no indispensable evidence to prove otherwise”.
“On the other hand, the WBA rules determine that the decision of a low blow and whether a boxer who receives it can continue are strict competences of the referee and he is the only one authorised to make these decisions.”
Usyk, who knocked Dubois down twice as he extended his perfect professional record to 21 wins from as many fights, is set for a much-anticipated showdown against WBC champion Tyson Fury next.
A deal for a fight that would have all four major world titles on the line was agreed last month although the date of the contest which will go ahead in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was not announced.