Lennox boxing referee?s rumble in the jungle
By STEVE SPINKS
IT was while John Wright's plane descended into what looked like a jungle that he became concerned.
After all, Merauke is situated in Indonesia only a few hundred kilometres west from the border of Papua New Guinea.
Merauke is no raging metropolis.
The Lennox Head International Boxing Federation referee was heading to the tiny Indonesian town because it is the home of IBF world mini-flyweight champion Muhammed Rachman.
It was also the site of Rachman's title defence against Thailand's Fahlan Sakreerin last week.
"It (Merauke) was a bit backwards, but they had a big crowd," Wright said.
And for the second time in three contests controversy followed Wright.
"Rachman won on a no-decision," Wright said.
"Our rules state that when there is an accidental head clash before the fifth round then there is no-decision.
"Rachman got a bad cut at the start of the third."
Although technically correct, the decision didn't go down to well with the Thai camp.
"They were pretty disappointed, but there was nothing that could be done about it," Wright said.
The no-decision followed on from the contentious bout between Australian Robbie Peden and American Nate Campbell in Melbourne.
After the fight the American claimed Wright was biased towards Peden.
But that wasn't all that happened in Merauke.
There was the horrifying 12 hour plane trip back to Jakarta not to mention the retractable wooden floor board that was placed over the grass of a football field where the bout was held.
The contest was scheduled to start at 12pm so it could be broadcast by television live at prime time to most of Asia.
However, rain and then a satellite problem in Jakarta delayed the start until 2pm.
Even then, Indonesian officials were trying to get the fight re-scheduled.
"It was a balls-up," Wright chuckled.
The Rachman fight was the second world title bout the 62-year-old officiated at in a week.
Wright was one of three judges when Armenian-born Australian Vic Darchinyan defended his IBF world flyweight belt against South African Mzukisi Sikali in Sydney over the Easter long-weekend.