The Speaker of the House of Commons has claimed boxing must ‘change the rules’ of scoring to avoid losing future fans, following the controversial title fight between Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall earlier this month.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle is the representative for Chorley in Westminster, and was backing local talent Catterall to take home all four of the recognised belts at light-welterweight in his bout against Taylor last month.
After a bloody and bad-tempered scrap, many viewers believed Catterall had done more than enough to secure an upset victory over the champion.
However, the three judges inside the OVO Hydro in Glasgow thought otherwise. A split decision win was awarded to Taylor, and a fortnight later many avid fans as well as the speaker are still riled.
Now, Hoyle has called on the governing bodies to delve deeper into how this was allowed to happen – or risk losing their future stars.
Speaking to Mancunian Matters, he said: “There are two things: The way boxing is scored I think other people should be able to see it. They should be handing round results all the way through so someone is collecting that.
“I don’t really want to get into the rules specifically… but I believe boxing is one of those important sports. But actually, now, it is completely tarnished because people have no faith or trust in it. Why take up the sport if you believe you will be robbed?
“Boxing has to clean up its act, tidy up, and become open, honest and transparent. I believe that transparency comes with a change of rules, but that’s for others to decide, not for me.”
Since the fight, Hoyle has not only started a petition with over 10,000 signatures, but also referred the “disgraceful” decision to the police.
By referring the situation to police, Hoyle has requested that Scotland Yard as well as Cabinet Officials investigate potential “undue influence”.
He also believes that the only way to truly correct the decision is to hand over the belts to the Lancashire man.
“My view is we have got to highlight an injustice,” he said. “That injustice cannot be allowed to just disappear. I told the Secretary of State (Nadine Dorries) how unhappy I was, and she then got the Sport Minister (Nigel Huddleston) involved.
“We’ve also got the boxing board looking into it. What I believe is they should retrospectively change the rules. I know they’ve said they can’t but when someone is robbed like that it leaves a sour taste in the mouth, and a question mark over the whole sport of boxing.
“We need the judges to explain how they were so different from viewers and what the boxing panel on Sky Sports were saying. Everybody had one result for that night – a unanimous decision that Jack Catterall won. How are they so different?
“They cannot leave this black cloud hanging over boxing, because people are starting to think there is something seriously and fundamentally wrong. Nobody can think of boxing benefits unless they sort out this mess.
“Give him the title, give him the belts, let him have his day. He earned it, he put his life into this. To be robbed at the last is not acceptable.”
Former Commonwealth super-welterweight champion Stacey Copeland was one of a number of former professionals disgusted by the decision.
On Twitter, she wrote: “Absolutely gutted for Jack Catterall and the whole team tonight. It’s sickening when this happens, it ruins the sport. Jack deserved his chance, worked so hard for it, took his opportunity and then was robbed of his big moment. Disgrace.”
Despite this, Copeland disagrees that reversing this single decision will make a difference to the overall integrity of the sport.
Speaking to Mancunian Matters, Copeland explained how she believes the problem runs much deeper than this one title fight.
She said: “I think with boxing if we just deal with individual cases and scenarios rather than the system, then nothing will get better. The system needs fixing. That was just one visible, very obvious result that everyone saw.
“There is stuff that goes on all the time in boxing that no one sees… there is no protection for boxers. There is no union, no governing body, no protection.
“This kind of thing will continue to happen until the system is fixed. But because it is run like a business, for profit, or whatever they run it for, they don’t have the morals that other sports have.
“They can fix Catterall and Taylor if they want, but it won’t fix the sport.”
The British Board of Control (BBBofC) investigated the result, and posted their findings in a social media post.
Following an internal investigation, the governing body of professional boxing inside the United Kingdom decided to demote judge Ian John-Lewis from an A Star Class to an A Class official.
The BBC also stated it would be supporting Catterall to be made a mandatory challenger for all four belts in a rematch.