British Board Cleared Judge Terry O’Connor Friday
The controversy involving a ringside judge from last Saturday night’s Lewis Ritson-Miquel Vasquez main event in England has resulted in a hearing, and the British Boxing Board of Control quickly clearing Terry O’Connor.
Boxingscene.com had the latest on Friday post-hearing and the formal announcement that they had met with, listened to and then decided that O’Connor did not use a cell phone during the eighth round of the fight, as it had appeared,
— BoxingScene.com (@boxingscene) October 23, 2020
“Allegations made on social media and the print media as to Mr O’Connor using a mobile telephone or similar handheld device were considered,” a Board statement said.
“Following extensive consideration of footage and Mr O’Connor’s evidence supplied, the Stewards are satisfied that Mr O’Connor was not in possession of any telephone or handheld device whilst carrying out his duties as a Judge in the contest between Lewis Ritson and Miguel Vazquez…”
As we wrote on Sunday, O’Connor was immediately in hot water as this still “screen grab” showed him appearing to be looking at his phone, while the fight was in progress above him. And, it went viral on the internet,
— Boxing News (@BoxingNewsED) October 18, 2020
It didn’t help matters that O’Connor scored a lopsided win for Ritson, despite one of his fellow judges scoring it for Vasquez. Last Sunday, the BBBOC’s Robert Smith told Boxingnewsonline.com,
“I am very, very disappointed. This has to be looked at and investigated and it will be. I am so frustrated that that this seems to have happened. After all the hard work we do behind the scenes, we have something like this emerging. Personally, I am so disappointed….
“I know the Sky (TV) commentators had Vazquez well ahead. They’re a long way from the ring, but I was there. And, I can completely understand why people felt that Vasquez won. The fight will be looked again, very carefully, indeed.”
The BBBOC questioned O’Connor Friday about the alleged phone use and seem to be satisfied that it not only wasn’t one, but that he did not have one with him at ringside to use.
Further, they examined his scoring of the fight and said in their statement,
“Mr O’Connor’s scoring of the bout was considered and whilst judging a contest is subjective and following Mr. O’Connor’s explanation of how he scored the bout, the Stewards are satisfied that Mr O’Connor’s final score reflected his own opinion of the contest.”
Still, there will be great skepticism about his scorecard and many will still believe that he was looking at his phone, whether he and the board say he wasn’t.
O’Connor, who has been a fairly prominent referee and judge for many years in the U.K., has worked numerous fights for both Matchroom Boxing (who promoted Saturday night’s show) and Queensberry Promotions in London since the Covid 19 pandemic restart of the sport.
It remains to be seen if Eddie Hearn, who blasted O’Connor upon seeing the social media post last Saturday, and Matchroom Boxing will look to exclude him from their fights in the short term.