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Bulner blunder in Jerusalem fight?


PhilBoxing.com



Referee Steve St. Germain (R) raises the hand of Melvin Jerusalem in victory.

In 1998, Malcolm Bulner was the referee when Manny Pacquiao knocked out Chatchai Sasakul in the eighth round to wrest the WBC flyweight crown on the Phuttamanthon campus grounds just outside of Bangkok. Bulner is now 79 and continues to be active as a referee and judge. He’s an Australian of Sri Lankan descent and a 1964 Tokyo Olympic boxer.

Bulner has been a referee and judge since 1970 or over 50 years ago. Last Sunday, he was one of three judges assigned to the WBC minimumweight championship bout between defending titlist Yudai Shigeoka and Filipino challenger Melvin Jerusalem at the International Convention Hall in Nagoya. The fight was a blast as the protagonists gave it their all in an explosive display of fireworks. It went the full route with Jerusalem scoring knockdowns in the third and sixth.

With the announcement of the judges’ tallies during the break in between the fourth and fifth rounds and eighth and ninth under the WBC’s open scoring system, there seemed to be something wrong in Bulner’s sheet. Bulner, judge Barry Lindenman of North Carolina and judge Jae Bong Kim of South Korea had it 38-37 for Jerusalem after four frames, counting the knockdown in the third and a shutout in the first. But at the end of the eighth, Lindenman and Kim scored it 77-73 for Jerusalem and Bulner saw it a draw, 75-all (despite two knockdowns notched by Jerusalem). Both Lindenman and Kim scored rounds seven, eight and nine for Jerusalem but Bulner had it the other way. In the 10th, Jerusalem started to coast, fighting defensively to preserve his cushion. Shigeoka desperately tried to stem the tide and was aggressive in the last three rounds which Lindenman and Kim scored for the Japanese. Surprisingly, Bulner gave round 10 to Jerusalem and even more surprisingly, scored round 12 a 10-all draw despite prevailing thinking that ties are discouraged. Did Bulner try to keep his count close because the disparity would’ve been too large and suspicious in Shigeoka’s favor?

Jerusalem clearly did more than enough to win the decision with Lindenman and Kim concurring to score it, 114-112. But Bulner had it 114-113 for Shigeoka even if he took mandatory eight-counts from Canadian referee Steve St. Germain twice.

GAB chairman Atty. Richard Clarin, a member of the WBC Board of Governors, was at ringside and noticed Bulner’s apparent irregularities. “Katabi ko nga mga taga-JBC (Japan Boxing Commission), nakita ko siya lang ang ibang score sa dalawang ibang judges,” said Clarin. “Mayroon round, two judges scored against Melvin pero siya naman for Melvin. Di ko siya maintindihan. I’m set to talk to (WBC president) Mauricio (Sulaiman) about it and other boxing concerns and even the WBC’s OPBF (Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation) matter where the management should already change since it’s been with Australia for a record time. I’m meeting with the JBC president and the agreement is for OPBF management to be transferred to Japan and I will serve as vice president. Dami nating plans with WBC and hopefully, also with WBO, WBA and IBF.”

Clarin said he was confident Jerusalem would snatch the belt. “Observation ko kay Melvin, before the fight, he was so relaxed,” Clarin continued. “Smiling and laughing at times. He felt the support of the Filipinos back home and in Japan and it helped na maraming Japanese din were praying for him to win. Sabi ko kay Melvin, mahal siya ng GAB family niya. Mahal siya ng sambayanang Pilipino. Laban lang at alam ko gagawin niya ang lahat. Matic ang belt sa kaniya.”


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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