Fortuin v Miller bout set to be reviewed after mixed judging
Bantamweight rematch might be on the cards
The process of reviewing the taped fight between Sharadene “Shinzo” Fortuin and Mellissa “Honey Bee” Miller, which is authorised by Boxing SA, is under way.
Fortuin was crowned as SA bantamweight champion after two judges declared her the winner with scores of 96-94. Their colleague scored the fight a draw at 95-95. That verdict reflected the closeness of the fight meant that Miller retained her title. But majority rules and Fortuin ascended the throne.
Miller’s trainer Lucky Ramagole launched a formal complaint which resulted in BSA calling for the reviewing of the fight which took place at Booysens Hall, Johannesburg, last month.
BSA acting CEO Cindy Nkomo said: "The process is under way. The footage given is incomplete and we are still waiting for a complete one. If we had been given a complete footage we would have reached the verdict by now.” The reviewing is done by judges from Western Cape, Eastern Cape and North West.
Nkomo said the reviewing process, developed in 2019, works.
“It is in our website; you just follow guidelines and once that done we submit it to the sanctioning committee for approval. Once that's done we appoint officials,” she said.
If the outcome is different from the initial decision, the BSA will call for an immediate rematch, unless either Fortuin or Miller has secured another fight. If the decision favours Miller but only to find that Fortuin has signed for a voluntary defence, she will go ahead and defend. But if she loses the title, the new champion will inherit the mandatory status and defend against Miller.
Judging of fights will always be a subjective matter because there will always be a judge who prefers a certain style of a fighter. Like in the case between Miller and Fortuin, the former was the aggressor who threw volumes of punches although not all of them landed while Fortuin was on the backfoot and threw fewer but cleaner punches.
It happened last week to Stephen Blea – the most experienced American judge, who has officiated in more than 200 fights and 60 championship bouts. He voted the WBC junior lightweight title fight in favour of defending champion Oscar Valdez with score of 117-110 against Robson Conceicao. Other two judges scored it 115-112 meaning it could have gone either way. Blea has officially apologised and voluntarily removed himself from any championship assignments until he undergoes what he termed “thorough training and review programme”.
His actions were described by top trainer Colin Nathan as a sign of humility.
“Some give points to a boxer who goes forward even when not throwing effective blows, but just for his or her aggression,” said Nathan who did live commentary during the Fortuin-Miller fight which was televised by SABC. “I thought Mellissa won the fight with close margins,” he said.
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