Daniel Dubois says he feels ‘cheated’ after losing to Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday night with Frank Warren confirming he will appeal a controversial low blow ruling – though the Ukrainian’s team are adamant the right decision was made.
The 25-year-old Brit stunned the crowd at the Tarczynski Arena in Poland when he landed a thunderous punch to the stomach of the heavyweight champion in the fifth round.
Usyk hit the deck and was left wincing in pain, though the referee immediately ruled the shot – which landed on the belt line – as a low blow, with the 36-year-old given the full five minutes to recover.
When he got back up, the reigning champ quickly reasserted his control with a flurry of combinations and dropped Dubois twice before the fight was stopped in the ninth round – though that was only the beginning of the drama.
In the ring afterwards, a clearly devastated Dubois told TNT Sports: ‘I didn’t think that was a low blow, I thought it landed and that I’ve been cheated out of victory. I’ve been cheated out of it tonight.’
Dubois’ promoter, Frank Warren, was adamant the punch was legal and says he will now lodge an appeal with the WBA and expects to receive a rematch.
He told reporters: ‘That punch was on the waistband. You see fighters come in sometimes wearing high shorts or their cup or bodyguard is high on them, so at the rules meeting they determine where is your waist and it’s the mid-point between your hips. He got hit on the waistband. Under those circumstances, the WBA have no alternative than to order a rematch.’
Asked if he would like to speak to the WBA about a rematch, he replied: ‘We’d not just like to speak to them, they’re gonna get their door kicked in!
‘We’re gonna be there and say, “Look at that, this is the rules meeting, we want a rematch!” Otherwise there’s going to be a problem, because I’m not going to stand for that. I’ve got to do the best for my fighter and protect my fighter’s interests and he won that fight.’
He added: ‘No cry-baby stuff. All we want is a fair shake, and we didn’t get it. What’s going to happen is what I said, and I’m very confident that once all the evidence is reviewed, they’ll either declare it a no-contest or order an immediate rematch.’
But Usyk and his team were absolutely adamant there was no case to answer, with promoter Alexander Krassyuk holding up a picture on his phone at the post-fight press conference which suggested Dubois’ punch had been on the low side.
‘Let me show you a picture of what kind of illegal blow it was. Do we have a definition of legal or illegal? Russ [Abner – Usyk’s cutman] what is the definition of legal or illegal?’
Abner replied: ‘The belly button is the line. Anything below that is a low blow. If you’re hitting the pants, it’s not a legal blow.’
Usyk’s team also contested Warren’s claim that the rules meeting had established what constituted a low blow, with the fighter himself even lifting up his shirt at one point to show where his belly button lay in relation to his waistband.
Krassyuk continued: ‘Normally, at the rules meeting it is discussed that if someone hits a fighter on purpose below the belt he has to be punished for two points. If he does it again, he can be punished again or disqualified upon the discretion of the referee.’
Usyk’s manager, Egis Klimas, added: ‘Let me clear this up a little bit guys, at the rules meeting we don’t talk about the low blows. The low blow is discussed when the referee and inspectors come in to the locker room and give the rules.
‘Always they come in and say, “Watch your low blows, everything from the belly button up is okay, everything below the belly button is no good. Make sure where you keep your trunkline so everything is on top of the trunkline.”
‘If a punch lands and hits skin and trunk, that’s okay – or at least it can be, some referees may say not okay. But you can see Dubois’ hand lies right on the belt and when you do an uppercut – like happened with this – and the glove landed completely under the trunkline, then it is a low blow.’
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