Promoter Frank Warren has confirmed that Queensberry Promotions are ‘putting together’ an appeal to the WBA for unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk to rematch Daniel Dubois following the controversial ‘low blow’ debacle in last weekend’s contest.
Ukraine’s Usyk was afforded a 3 minute 45 second break in the opening minute of the fifth round after a perceived illegal blow from Dubois in the eyes of referee Luis Pabon.
Usyk went on to stop Dubois in the ninth to successfully defend his WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine heavyweight titles.
Warren was seething post-fight however and demanded a second fight be ordered between the pair, believing Dubois had been robbed of the titles following Pabon’s decision in the fifth.
Warren confirms appeal is being prepared
Warren’s statement, posted to the Queensberry Promotions website, began: “THE VERY ASTUTE Carl Frampton was right first time [Frampton was on punditry duty for TNT Sports on the night and believed the right hand landed by Dubois was legitimate], if the rules were followed to the letter, we would now have a new unified heavyweight champion.
“Instead, the excellent current champion remains on his throne, with his game challenger left to lick his wounds.
“However, it won’t be quite as straightforward as that because we intend to throw our weight behind our man Daniel Dubois to seek justice over the incident in the pivotal fifth round when Oleksandr Usyk was bludgeoned to the canvas and would have been out for the count, had there been one.
“It really is largely irrelevant whether Daniel was being outgunned, outpointed or out-skilled by the ring-smart two-weight world champion. That was to be expected, we knew that and outfoxing him wasn’t part of the grand plan.”
Warren goes on to accuse Usyk of gesturing towards Puerto Rico’s Pabon in the immediate aftermath in order to force a low blow to be called.
The Hall of Fame promoter also insists that the area in which the blow landed was deemed fair game in the rules meeting the day before the fight.Embed from Getty Images
Above: Usyk falls and winces following the Dubois right hand in the opening 30 seconds of round five. Photo by Getty Images.
WBA rules regarding low blows
Dubois entered the night as mandatory challenger for Usyk’s WBA heavyweight title following a four round blowout of Trevor Bryan in June last year.
Much debate has entailed since Dubois landed the right hand on Saturday evening, with opinions seemingly split as to whether the Briton had in fact been in breach of the rules in the early stages of the fifth.
The WBA’s own regulations are laid out on their website and state that any shots which land below the waistline are deemed illegal, defining the waistline as “the imaginary horizontal line through the naval to the top of the hips.”
The regulations also make clear that this remains the case regardless of “where the boxer places his trunks and/or protector cup.”
Finally, the WBA state that the referee “should establish the waistline at centre ring in his final instructions”. Pabon did not appear to offer such an instruction on the night in Wroclaw.
While the frustrations of Team Dubois can be understood, replays do appear to show that the shot did land below Usyk’s naval (bellybutton) and so Pabon was in line with the WBA rules in ruling the blow an illegal one.