Boxxer promoter Ben Shalom hopes the controversial scorecard that denied Jack Catterall the biggest victory of his career against Josh Taylor can be a catalyst for long-term change across the sport.
Taylor remained undisputed super-lightweight champion after a split decision in favour of the Scot despite Catterall dominating the contest and out-landing his opponent by a significant margin.
Judge Ian John-Lewis has since been demoted from an A Star Class to an A Class Official by the British Boxing Board of Control in light of his 114-111 scorecard.
“I don’t think it’s end of it; I hope that it’s not,” Shalom told Sky Sports. “I hope that it’s the start of looking at the judging system itself and how transparent it might be able to become. For me it’s nowhere near [transparent] enough.
“Luckily, Robert [BBBofC general secretary Robert Smith] said that he’s open to ideas and we’re working extremely hard with Sky on putting together a proposal that would include technology, open scoring, maybe using editing suites and using everything that we have available.
“Sometimes I do feel sorry for the judges, if you’ve got three of them with the same angle, sat ringside with all of the noise of the fight… I think that it’s about minimising wrong decisions.”
Catterall’s trainer Jamie Moore, who admitted on fight night the decision was the kind to make him consider quitting the sport, labelled the BBBofC’s decision to downgrade John-Lewis as ‘not good enough’.
“We’re working on it really hard,” Shalom continued. “I’m really hoping after all the attention on this the board will be committed to looking at it and we’re going to do as much as we can to help them and put something forwards.
“So, I think there’s still so much to be done in terms of understanding, improving how fights are judged. We’ll see, we’ll see.”
Catterall lifted his arms to the sky and hopped on the shoulders of trainer Moore in celebration as the 12th round came to an end, such was his confidence he had just become world champion after a long wait that had seen him previously step aside from a mandatory challenge in order to allow Taylor to unify the division.
Howard Foster was the only judge to rule in favour of Catterall with a 113-112 score, while Victor Loughlin deemed Taylor victorious by a matching score to add to John-Lewis’ verdict and hand Taylor the win.
“Boxing is so big now, you have three broadcasters in the UK going at it hard, you’ve got (Tyson) Fury and (Dillian) Whyte selling out Wembley and now them refusing to have British judges – I think that shows there’s a problem here,” Shalom added.
“I don’t think just Britain, I think globally, and I think the judging system and the judging scoring has to be looked at.
“We’re not going to stop banging the drum but we’re also going to be constructive. We’ve seen the decision of the British Boxing Board of Control and we’re going away and I’m working so hard with Adam Smith and working on things, talking to different stakeholders about what we can put forwards and how hopefully the sport can move on from this.”
Taylor has noted he would be prepared to take on a rematch with Catterall at a catchweight, though that should not deter from the wider issue that must be addressed moving forward.
“Jack Catterall will never get that night back and I want to make this not about Josh Taylor and not about Jack Catterall, now this is about judging within boxing and what can be done to minimise mistakes or minimise room for any sort of untoward thing that might go on, or not go on in the sport,” said Shalom.
“Fingers crossed, this is the start of a change.”