IBF leave door open for Sammartino

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The IBF have acknowledged an “error” in the scoring of the Lee Haskins vs. Ryan Burnett world bantamweight title clash but insisted the judge in question is “reliable.”

Two judges’ ruled the bout 119-107 in favour of challenger Burnett but Clark Sammartino turned in a score of 118-108 favouring champion Haskins, prompting an outburst of disbelief at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast.

Speculation that the American had simply mixed up the fighters rather than interpreted the action differently was quick to gather pace and the governing body subsequently released a statement.

It read: “On Saturday, June 10, 2017 the IBF bantamweight bout between Lee Haskins and Ryan Burnett held at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Ireland was ruled a split decision victory for Burnett as a result of an error with the scorecards.

“Due to this error, in which one of the scores after each round was recorded on the individual scorecards for the incorrect fighter, the bout was declared a split decision when it should have been ruled a unanimous decision in favour of Burnett. An error of this nature and at this level of the sport should not have occurred.”

Despite British Boxing Board of Control General Secretary Robert Smith asserting that Sammartino would “not be back” to judge on British shores, the IBF added: “The IBF carefully considers the officials it recommends for appointment to a bout.

“Judge Clark Sammartino has been a member of the IBF for many years and has been a solid, reliable and consistent judge.

“He has an active officiating career and has worked at the world-class level. The IBF remains committed to recommending qualified and reliable officials to work its sanctioned bouts, and is fully intent on deterring a situation such as this one from occurring again in the future.”

Sammartino has judged 433 bouts since beginning his career in 1987.

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