Two-and-a-half months after the controversial conclusion to their elimination match, the WBA has ordered an immediate rematch between 154-pound contenders Israil Madrimov and Michel Soro.
Madrimov recorded what was widely viewed as a flagrantly unfair, ninth-round, technical-knockout victory over Soro on December 17 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. David Berlin, Soro’s attorney, filed a protest December 21 with the WBA because Madrimov clearly landed at least six punches after the bell rang to end the ninth round in what was scheduled as a 12-round fight.
The WBA’s championship committee determined that France’s Soro was wronged and deserves an immediate rematch with Uzbekistan’s Madrimov.
Their promoters – Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing (Madrimov) and Yohan Zaoui (Soro) – have 30 days upon receipt of the WBA’s official ruling to agree to terms for a rematch. The WBA otherwise will call a purse bid, from which Madrimov and Soro would be entitled 50 percent apiece.
Despite ordering an immediate rematch, WBA did not address Soro’s request for the result of their bout to be changed to a no-contest. Soro’s record therefore stands at 35-3-1 (24 KOs), whereas Madrimov’s mark remains 8-0 (6 KOs).
This controversy came about because neither Madrimov nor referee Salvador Salva heard the bell ring at a noisy venue inside a Renaissance Hotel in Uzbekistan’s capital city. According to the WBA’s findings, its ringside supervisor, Jesper Jensen, asked the timekeeper to make the bell louder before the second round started December 17.
The sound of the bell remained low, however, which was why Salva didn’t step between them when Madrimov continued to throw hard shots at Soro once the round should’ve officially concluded. Madrimov buzzed Soro with a right hand several seconds before the bell sounded, but Soro should have been given time to recuperate between rounds from that punch.
After a lengthy delay, Madrimov was declared the winner by TKO, in spite of obvious evidence that warranted at least a no-contest.
Through eight rounds of a competitive contest, Madrimov led by four points on the scorecard of Bulgarian judge Yordan Ezekiev (78-74) and two points on the card of English judge Grzegorz Molenda (77-75). Italian judge Luigi Boscarelli had it even entering the ninth round, 76-76.
Soro, 34, hadn’t been stopped inside the distance in any of his first 38 professional fights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.