Search icon


11th Jun 2017

Boxing chief is coming down hard on judge who ballsed up Burnett-Haskins scorecard

Understandable really

Darragh Murphy

Everyone makes mistakes but professionals should not make mistakes like these in a world title fight.

A clearer unanimous decision than Ryan Burnett’s victory over Lee Haskins simply doesn’t exist, yet the Belfast bantamweight had to make do with the first split decision of his young career.

Burnett dominated throughout the IBF bantamweight title fight in the Odyssey Arena, dropping Haskins on two occasions before coasting to the final bell.

The reading of the scorecards seemed to be merely incidental but confused looks were soon exchanged when it was revealed that one judge had seen the fight in Haskins’ favour.

Judge Clark Sammartino registered a score of 118-108, giving Haskins two 10-8 rounds in the process, while the two other judges rightly lodged decisions of 119-107 for Burnett.

Promoter Eddie Hearn admitted that he found the split decision “scary” and suggested that Sammartino mixed the fighters up at the beginning of the fight, reportedly asking a photographer who was who.

British Boxing Board of Control general secretary Robert Smith has since opened up on the incident and has claimed that it will be the last time Sammartino judges in the United Kingdom.

“I’ve certainly made my thoughts felt to the supervisor of the IBF, who is in agreement with me,” Smith told Sky Sports.

“I can tell you one thing – [Sammartino] will not be coming back to this country, and I will make sure the IBF are told of that.

“There’s only one winner tonight, and I think Mr Sammartino and Mr Haskins will understand that. It’s just disappointing. It was a good fight and this has kind of ruined it a little bit.”