By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 19/10/20 4:08pm
Judge Terry O’Connor will appear before the British Boxing Board of Control after criticism he used his phone while scoring Lewis Ritson’s highly controversial win.
The Newcastle fighter received a split decision win over Miguel Vazquez, with O’Connor scoring the fight widely in Ritson’s favour, but a picture later emerged on social media of the experienced official apparently looking at his phone during the super-lightweight fight on Saturday in Peterborough.
The BBBofC has since released a statement which read: “Mr. O’Connor will appear before the Stewards of the British Boxing Board of Control following his appointment to the boxing tournament at the East of England Showground Arena on Saturday, 17th October 2020.”
Vazquez received a 116-113 tally from fellow official Marcus McDonnell, but O’Connor scored it 117-111 for Ritson, who took the victory on points following a 115-113 verdict from the third judge Michael Alexander.
An outcry on social media became more vociferous after an image emerged of O’Connor, with promoter Eddie Hearn questioning if he was paying enough attention.
Hearn tweeted: “Watching from home and felt Vasquez deserved the win there.
“If that’s a phone (and I presume it is) then then BBBofC should immediately remove him.”
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman also expressed his concern, saying: “This image is extremely troubling to any person involved in boxing.”
Matthew Macklin’s verdict
Sky Sports expert Macklin, who scored the fight 118-110 to Vazquez, believes even the brief use of a mobile phone could prevent an official from scoring a fight accurately.
“Let’s say he looked at the phone quickly and didn’t miss any action. The fact that he’s looking at his phone, there’s something on his mind, which means he’s concentrating on whatever is on his phone. Waiting for a text or whatever.
The board are going to be under a bit of pressure here to take action.
“We’re commentating there, we’re watching every second of the fight. It’s not easy to score some of these rounds, and we’re totally focused on it, so if you’re watching it, but your mind is somewhere else. It’s not good is it.
“I think they [BBBofC] have to make a stand here.
“The board are going to be under a bit of pressure here to take action.”