RESOLUTION OF THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP COMMITTEE, JOSE ZEPEDA PETITION OF A RETURN FIGHT FOR THE WBO LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE
WHEREAS, on July 11, 2015 WBO #1 contender Terry Flanagan of the United Kingdom faced WBO #2 contender José Zepeda of California, United States for the vacant WBO Lightweight Championship of the World, in a bout held at the Velodrome in Manchester, U.K.; and,
WHEREAS, Zepeda suffered a dislocated left shoulder and remained on his stool at the end of the 2nd round, with Referee Marcus McDonnell waving the bout off after speaking with Zepeda’s corner team, and confirming with both the fighter and the ringside physician that the fight could not continue; and,
WHEREAS, Flanagan was deemed the winner of the contest via TKO in round 2 and was awarded the WBO Lightweight Championship of the World; and,
WHEREAS, on July 21, 2015 Mr. Robb M. Hernández, manager of José Zepeda, filed a petition with this WBO World Championship Committee, in essence requesting that we order an immediate “mandatory rematch” and alluding to Zepeda’s performance and the judges’ scoring up until the stoppage of the bout; and,
WHEREAS, Mr. Fernando Beltrán of Promociones Zanfer, Zepeda’s promoter, filed a similar request to this Committee, highlighting the “unfortunate outcome of the fight following the dislocation of Zepeda’s shoulder in the second round of the fight” and considering his fighter “worthy of a new opportunity to face Terry Flanagan in a mandatory rematch, given that the injury prevented Zepeda from continuing and proving that he can be a great WBO Champion;” and,
WHEREAS, all interested WBO participants were given notice of this Petition and allowed reasonable opportunity to express their views and submit any document or otherwise present any argument they believed would help the Committee resolve this Petition; and,
WHEREAS, the WBO World Championship Committee commissioned a five-member, highly qualified and internationally recognized, confidential judging panel to conduct a in-depth analysis of the fight, with particular emphasis on round 2; and,
WHEREAS, this judging panel saw no irregularity or misapplication of the rules, as Section 26 (b) (11) of our WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests (incorporating by reference the Uniform rules of the Association of Boxing Commissioners) is clear insofar that “[i]f a boxer sustains an injury from a fair blow and the injury is severe enough to terminate the bout, the injured boxer shall lose by TKO” (Emphasis added); and,
WHEREAS, Section 18 of the aforementioned Regulations (on Return Fights) states that “[t]he WBO shall not allow direct return fights, unless recommended by the World Championship Committee and authorized by the Executive Committee. A direct return fight is a fight between the new Champion and the former Champion from whom the new Champion won the title (or between a new Champion and the losing Contestant in a Vacant Title Fight), before the new Champion defends his title against any of the other fighters classified in his category. If the World Championship Committee determines either that the resolution of a Championship Contest was substantially irregular, or that there was a clear misapplication of the rules of boxing resulting in a manifest unfairness, such that in either case the World Championship Committee determines that the Championship was substantially unresolved, the World Championship Committee may, in its discretion, recommend a direct return fight, which may be authorized only by the majority vote of the Executive Committee […];” and,
WHEREAS, this WBO World Championship Committee sanctioned the WBO Vacant Lightweight Championship bout between Terry Flanagan and José Zepeda on June 22, 2015, provided that the winner face the WBO Mandatory Challenger within 120 days of the bout.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the WBO World Championship Committee that given all of the above we do not find the resolution of this Championship Contest “substantially irregular,’ [or] “that there was a clear misapplication of the rules of boxing resulting in a manifest unfairness” and that it hereby denies this petition for an immediate or “return” rematch, per the WBO World Championship Rules.
This is a final decision of the WBO World Championship Committee. The affected WBO Participant may appeal to the Complaint and Grievance Committee, pursuant to WBO World Championship Section 34, which as per Rule 3(e) of the WBO Appeals Regulation, must be submitted in writing to the WBO President within fourteen (14) days of the date of this decision as its sole and exclusive remedy.
Dated in San Juan, Puerto Rico on this 5th day of August, 2015
Luis Batista-Salas, Chairman
WBO CHAMPIONSHIP COMMITTEE
cc Francisco Valcárcel, Esq., István Kovacs, Frank Warren Robert Smith