WAITING GAME:Lennox Head official John Wright, who will now have to wait to hear from the IBF.
WAITING GAME:Lennox Head official John Wright, who will now have to wait to hear from the IBF.

Boxing judge left in limbo



LENNOX HEAD boxing judge John Wright has been left in limbo following the withdrawal of Irishman Damaen Kelly from his scheduled International Boxing Federation world flyweight title fight with Australia's Vic Darchinyan.

Wright was scheduled to be one of three judges for the bout in Melbourne on November 27, but Kelly sensationally withdrew from the fight on Thursday.

A dispute over terms is at the forefront.

The fight had been scheduled for Sydney last Tuesday, but it was pushed back to the Melbourne date.

As for Wright, he was even unaware the fight had collapsed.

"We're always the last to know," he said.

"Obviously I'm surprised.

"Kelly is the mandatory opponent according to the IBF, so I guess they'll keep going down the list until they find someone who will fight."

Promoter Jeff Fenech said yesterday that he expected to hear from the IBF today whether Darchinyan would fight a ranked opponent on the card.

Fenech said the Irish camp had made too many demands and sought too much money; the negotiations eventually broke down.

"Now we just have to wait to see if he will be part of the show," Fenech said.

The Darchinyan fight was to have been a split card at Vodafone Arena, sharing the bill with Dutch IBO middleweight champion Ray Joval and Australian Shannan Taylor.

It would have been the third time Wright had officiated at the Armenian-born Australian's world title fights.

Great year

He's already refereed and judged two of Darchinyan's fights.

It would have capped a great year for Wright.

Last November, he judged Kostya Tszyu's match-up against Sharmba Mitchell in the United States.

In February, he refereed the Robbie Peden and Nate Campbell world title fight in Melbourne.

The fallout from that fight is still being felt by the 62-year-old.

Wright stopped the fight after Campbell received a barrage of more than 10 consecutive punches.

But afterwards the brash American accused the Lennox Head referee of being biased towards the Australian Peden and that the fight should have continued.

Campbell is still spreading that view more than six months after the bout.

Wright was amused to see the American after a recent fight still saying he had to fight the referee as well as Peden in Australia.

But the Lennox Head official is unrepentant.

"The thing is about two months ago, I can't remember what fight it was now, but on an undercard a referee should have stopped a fight," Wright said.

"He didn't and the bloke died.

"With a lot of fighters, they don't think they're hurt because some are too tough for their own good and that's what (to look after the fighters) a referee is there for."

IBF officials obviously agree with Wright because since the Campbell and Peden fight, he has been involved in two further world title bouts.

One was the Darchinyan title defence and the other was a mini-flyweight match-up between champion Indonesia fighter Muhammed Rachman and Thailand's Fahlan Sakreerin.

Wright will now have to wait and see if the IBF appoint another opponent for Darchinyan's title defence.

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