Daniel Dubois is not happy with the refereeing in his Oleksandr Usyk title fight.
After getting dropped in the closing seconds of Round 8, the 25-year-old Brit ultimately lost via ninth-round knockout in Saturday’s heavyweight title bout at the Tarczyński Arena Wrocław in Wroclaw, Poland. But the outcome was not without controversy, as Dubois dropped Usyk in Round 5 with a hard blow to the midsection that was deemed illegal by referee Luis Pabon. Pabon then gave Usyk several minutes to recover, at one point even forcing Usyk to take more time despite the champ’s insistence on continuing.
With so many Ukrainians in attendance to support Usyk, Dubois and his team accused Pabon of foul play once the dust settled and the official result was read.
“I didn’t think that was a low blow. I thought that landed [legally] and I’ve been cheated out of victory tonight,” Dubois said in the ring in his post-fight interview.
“Cheated out of victory. It hit him on the waistband,” added Frank Warren, Dubois’ promoter. “… That’s all he worked on in camp. Working to the body. We see that as a weakness and he got caught, and that referee got it badly wrong. Badly wrong. Didn’t take any points off him. If there’s a low blow, why didn’t you take points off him? And I like Usyk, I like him, but that was a hometown decision. Compete hometown decision. He won that fight because he was not fit to go on and they gave him, I don’t know how long it was, a couple of minutes to recover from a legitimate shot.”
With the win, Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) successfully defended his WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles. He also stayed in the running for a potential Tyson Fury title unification bout in the future once Fury faces former UFC champion Francis Ngannou on Oct. 28.
Dubois (19-2, 18 KOs) and his team, however, are determined to seek justice for what they perceive to be a career-changing win stolen out from underneath them.
“I’ve been cheated out of a shot. That was a win tonight,” Dubois said.
“This is a boxing match and it should be straight and it should be above board, and it was not above board,” Warren said. “That was not a low blow. And how long did he get to recover? A couple of minutes? It’s nonsense. It’s total nonsense. The governing bodies are going to have to do something about it and they’ll order a rematch, because how can you not order a rematch on the strength of that? He won it.
“[We’re going to] appeal what’s going on here and then see we’ll see where it goes from there,” Warren continued, “but I’m quite sure they’ll order another rematch, order another fight. They have to. Justice has to be done.”