CONTENDER Gym trainer Mark Kent was furious with officials for denying Nick Blackwell the WBA continental middleweight title.
Blackwell, 22, comfortably dealt with the challenge put forward by the experienced Max Bursak in front of his home crowd in Kharkiv, Ukraine, last weekend, knocking the 29-year-old EBU champion to the canvas for the first time in his career with a punishing right hook midway through the fourth round.
Bursak was out on his feet but survived the round before recovering to stay in the fight until the final bell, receiving a controversial unanimous decision from the judges.
Despite his fighter’s commendable performance, Kent could not look past a contentious result.
“When they gave the decision to Bursak, I went over to ask for it in English and just said ‘you’re having a laugh, aren’t you?’,” he said.
“The referee (Mikael Hook) said that he would have given the fight as a draw and Bursak walked straight out afterwards while Nick was the one who was getting stopped by all of the crowd for pictures.
“At the after-party, one of the judges came up to (cuts man) Gareth Heard and said ‘we would have given the decision to you if you’d just been a bit busier in the last rounds’.
“That really frustrated me because a professional judge couldn’t even recognise that he was talking to the wrong person.
“It’s frustrating because the WBA rules say that if you turn your back on an opponent, it’s an automatic knockout. Bursak did that in the fourth round but it’s a bit of a grey area because the ref jumped in too.”
Blackwell’s promoter P J Rowson says the photos of a battered and bruised Bursak after Saturday’s clash show that his man should have returned with the belt.
“The photos tell the story of the fight. Nick hasn’t got a mark on him and Bursak’s face is a mess,” said Rowson.
“Both Bursak and his promoter say that at just 22 years old, Nick is a future world champion and that’s all credit to him and the work trainer Mark Kent has done with him since he came to him as a complete novice with no amateur experience.”
Blackwell’s next outing is likely to be in Trow-bridge on Saturday, October 26, after tonight’s show, which also featured Malmesbury’s Joe Hughes, Bradford on Avon’s Heard, Melksham’s Luke Martin and Blackwell’s brother Dan, at the Civic Centre was postponed.
Tickets will be valid for the rearranged date or for information on refunds, contact the Contender Gym on 01225 765712.
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