BBBofC to avoid ref debate before Joshua v Pulev

Anthony Joshua

The referee for Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev will be confirmed “well in advance” after the chaos preceding Joseph Parker vs Hughie Fury, it has been confirmed by the British Boxing Board of Control.

A complaint from Parker’s camp about the referee for last month’s successful WBO title defence resulted in a short-notice swap, with Terry O’Connor making way for Marcus McDonnell. The BBBofC now insist that a similar row will not dominate Joshua’s pre-fight build-up for October 28.

“We will have it wrapped up well in advance,” BBBofC general secretary Robert Smith told Sky Sports. “We receive correspondence from promoters and camps in advance and we will consider everything, but the final decision is with the Boxing Board.

“Our policy is a British referee, a British judge, one judge from the country of the other boxer, and one neutral judge. We do that 95 percent of the time.”

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Joshua’s dramatic victory over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley was refereed by America’s David Fields, after the visiting fighter specifically requested an official from a neutral country.

“With regards to Joshua vs Klitschko, we had many months of negotiations for everything to do with that fight,” Smith said.

“We had reasons put forwards by Mr Klitschko’s camp and Joshua’s promoter and we came to a decision about the officials well in advance.

“If [Pulev’s camp] wish to put forward suggestions regarding the officials, we will obviously consider them, as we do with every fight.”

The BBBofC have jurisdiction for the officials for every boxing match on British soil. Joshua’s last four fights have all been overseen by a different referee, three of which were Brits.

Joshua will defend his IBF and WBA ‘super’ heavyweight titles against Pulev on October 28 at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.