Boxer's uncle sought by cops for sucker punch

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OXON HILL, Md. — Leon Lawson Jr., the uncle and assistant trainer of super middleweight Andre Dirrell, was wanted on two assault charges by Prince George’s County Police on Saturday night after he punched contender Jose Uzcategui, Dirrell’s opponent, in the face after the fight had ended.

Dirrell claimed a vacant interim super middleweight world title by eighth-round disqualification after Uzcategui drilled him just after the bell rang to end the round and Dirrell was ruled unable to continue on the Gary Russell Jr.-Oscar Escandon undercard at the MGM National Harbor.

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Dirrell went down hard, face-first, and referee Bill Clancy ruled the punch landed after the bell. As Dirrell was being attended to by the ringside doctor, Lawson stormed across the ring and unleashed a left hand that landed on Uzcategui’s face, nearly igniting a riot in the ring.

Uzcategui was restrained by his handlers, and Lawson also was pulled away from him, but Lawson then slipped out of the arena during the postfight confusion.

Uzcategui was taken to the trauma center at MedSTAR Washington Hospital in Washington D.C. for further evaluation and was released a few hours later.

“I’m sorry for what my coach has done,” Dirrell said. “My coach is my family, my uncle, and he was worried. He cares for me. He loves me. Please forgive him.

“I’m going to stand up like a man. I didn’t win like I wanted to, but I’ll be back.”

According to a report on Showtime’s telecast by ringside reporter Jim Gray, police said they were searching for Lawson and that he would be arrested when found. Uzcategui was under police protection, according to the report.

After Russell knocked out Escandon in the seventh round to retain his featherweight world title in the main event, he apologized for Lawson’s actions.

“We boys are gladiators, and sometimes emotions get the best of us,” Russell said. “Our families support us and we draw from each other’s energy, and I hope the fans can see that and understand that sometimes emotions run high.

“I want to apologize for the gladiators. The gladiators are warriors. The Dirrell camp, sometimes emotions build up and take the best of us. Please forgive them.”

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