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Presidents Column  |  July 2014

Posted on July 31 2014                                               Bookmark and Share
By WBF President Howard Goldberg  



The World Boxing Federation has always taken great pride in the fact that we are open, transparent, fair and principled. We are also extremely proud when two of our world champions, both rated # 1 in the world, meet for our title.

Enter the unbeaten German superstar Christina Hammer, and the ferocious French star Ann Sophie Mathis. A 17-0 fighter versus a 27-3 fighter and one would expect a Fight of the Year.

On paper unquestionably, but so often in the case of boxing, some fights simply do not work out as they are supposed to. An ugly fight of pushing, holding and wrestling with a hugely controversial ending.

The referee ruled that Mathis had hit Hammer a.) behind the head, b.) with an elbow and c.) after the “stop” (and left everyone to take his own pick), and although Hammer was virtually down and out, a disqualification of Mathis was soon announced to the disapproving roar of the agitated and angry spectators.

Upon a written objection from the Mathis camp who claimed treachery and robbery, the World Boxing Federation, after receiving a comprehensive report from supervisor and Vice President Jean Marcel Nartz, decided to take another look at the video to ascertain what had exactly happened.

Did the referee err, or was he correct to disqualify the French champion?

Upon reflection and after much discussion, the World Boxing Federation Executive Committee headed by Chairman Torben Seemann Hansen, not just one of the most experienced boxing administrators in the world but also himself a reputed judge with decades at ringside, ruled unanimously that in fact the fight should have been awarded to Mathis by way of knockout as the punch was clearly to the ear and not behind the head.

In order to ensure fairness and equity the World Boxing Federation ruled the fight a No Contest and recommended a rematch to establish once and for all who the true champion is.

The World Boxing Federation does not often interfere with officials rulings, but when an appeal has massive grounds for analysis, the World Boxing Federation will ensure that justice prevails. Referees do a great job most of the time, but they are human and at times they too can make mistakes.

Christina Hammer and Anne Sophie Mathis are two warriors and two champions. Let's hope these two fine ladies do the right thing and do it all over again to find a true winner between these two stars.

Until next time, keep boxing.

Howard Goldberg

PRESIDENT: World Boxing Federation


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