Argentine boxing chief laughs off riot
By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star)
MANILA, Philippines - To the president of the Argentine Boxing Commission, the riot that took place last Saturday at Mar Del Plata in Argentina was just fine.
Johnriel Casimero scored a 10th round knockout of Argentine Alberto Lazarte in their battle for the vacant IBF light-flyweight crown.
But Argentine fans did not take it sitting down and threw all kinds of debris at the Filipino boxer, his promoter Sammy Gello-ani and trainer Pingping Tepora.
A few of them managed to get inside the ring, and attacked the three Filipinos, who suffered minor bruises. It took authorities more than 10 minutes to restore order.
When the smoke cleared, more than a dozen chairs were in the ring.
Osvaldo Bisbal, the president of the Argentine Boxing Commission, said there’s no one to punish for the incident as he laughed off possible sanctions against his commission.
“There is no one to punish. Everything was fine,” he was quoted by Argentine daily El Clarin as saying.
“According to what I saw, I can’t find anyone to punish. Who you want to punish? The boxer? The promoter? They complied with everything. The Once Unidos Stadium had nothing to do with it. There is no one to punish,” he said.
Earlier, the World Boxing Council, through its president Jose Sulaiman, called for an immediate action from local authorities in Argentina regarding the incident.
Sulaiman asked all boxing federations and commissions around the world to review the incident, in the hope of finding ways and measures to avoid any repetition.
But Bisbal sees no problem at all even when faced with sanctions from the IBF.
“We laugh off the sanctions of international sanctioning bodies. They have no authority to do so,” he said.
To the rest of the boxing world, it’s no laughing matter.
'Casimero foe should be banned from boxing'
MANILA, Philippines – Some boxing analysts believe Argentinian fighter Luis Lazarte should be banned from boxing after a brawl erupted following his loss against Filipino boxer Johnriel Casimero last Friday in his hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Casimero defeated Lazarte via a 10th round knockout in a fight that was marred by several fouls, including low blows from both fighters and rabbit punches. Lazarte bit Casimero at least once, but was not caught by the referee.
Lazarte's fans rioted after his loss, and Casimero had to hide under the ring while fans were escorted out of the arena. Some of his team members sustained injuries.
"Lazarte is the dirtiest fighter in boxing," said ESPN's Dan Rafael in his "Scorecard" column.
Rafael noted that Lazarte had fought against Ulises "Archie" Solis in "two brutally dirty" title fights. "Even before this disaster, Lazarte should not have been allowed near another title fight after the way he conducted himself against Solis," he added.
Rafael said Lazarte should be "banned from boxing for his constant disregard for the rules."
"He started fighting dirty right away, holding Casimero behind the neck and using his head... Referee Eddie Claudio, who had a very busy fight, warned Lazarte for using his head early int he second round."
Lazarte was deducted a point in the sixth round, and he responded by threatening the referee, saying "Do you want to make it out of here alive?"
Rafael called the post-fight brawl "the most appalling scene the sport has seen since the riot at... Madison Square Garden that followed the ending of the first Riddick Bowe-Andrew Golota fight in 1996."
"It looked like an episode of WWE Smackdown and was one of the most disturbing scenes you will ever see," he added.
It is not only Lazarte who is to be blamed, Rafael said, as "his so-called fans are even worse." The fans who started the brawl were reportedly friends of Lazarte.
Meanwhile, Lem Satterfield of RingTV said that should Lazarte follow through with his plans to retire, the boxer will not be missed.
"Argentine fans have much better fighters to root for," he said.
Satterfield also commended Casimero for fighting a tough battle in a very hostile arena, saying "Filipino fans might have a new player to cheer. I think hardcore fans of any background can get behind Casimero."
"Casimero is fearless, and he probably earned a RING ranking with Saturday's victory," he added.
The Games and Amusement Board (GAB) in the Philippines is planning to ask their counterparts in Argentina to conduct an investigation of the post-fight riot.
Casimero and his team are set to arrive in the Philippines Tuesday.
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