Soro's Team Files Protest With Russian Federation Over Controversial Loss To Kurbanov
Michel Soro’s handlers have filed a protest after his costly, controversial loss to Magomed Kurbanov on Saturday night in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
In the protest submitted to the Russian Boxing Federation, a copy of which was obtained by Boxing Scene, Soro’s attorney, David Berlin, requested that the RBF reverse the official result – a 12-round, split-decision win for Russia’s Kurbanov. Berlin cited criticism from numerous media outlets, including BS.com, and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, which referred to Kurbanov’s questionable win as “a robbery” that “had to be seen to be believed,” among the reasons that the decision should be changed.
France’s Soro told Boxing Scene in the immediate aftermath of his dubious defeat that he was certain that he had won at least eight or nine rounds.
Two judges – Russia’s Dmitry Boldyrev (116-112) and Germany’s Joerg Milke (115-113) – scored eight and seven rounds for Kurbanov, respectively. The third judge – France’s Ammar Sakraoui – scored Soro a 115-113 winner of their junior middleweight match.
“The bout was a one-sided affair with Soro the clear and decisive winner,” Berlin wrote in the official protest addressed to Oleg Ageev, head of the RBF. “It is our information that most observers, both in the audience and on television, scored the bout 9-3 in rounds for Soro, and that no one – other than the judges – saw Kurbanov winning more than four rounds. Moreover, the few rounds that could have been given to Kurbanov were close rounds in which no damage was done and which could have gone to either fighter, whereas most of the rounds won by Soro were dominant, damaging rounds.”
Berlin emphasized that the scoring of the 11th round was egregious.
“There is no imaginable way that a judge could have legitimately scored that round for Kurbanov,” Berlin wrote. “And yet that is exactly what the Russian judge (Boldyrev) and the German judge (Milke) did. There is no explanation other than that these judges are corrupt or so incompetent that they should not be judging fights. The scoring of that round is emblematic of the injustice that was perpetrated on Soro in the bout.”
Sakraoui scored the 11th round for Soro.
Berlin, a former executive director of the New York State Athletic Commission, also detailed irregularities that occurred at the scale both Friday and Saturday.
A video from Friday’s weigh-in showed that Kurbanov leaned on the hand of one of his team members as he stood on the scale. The 27-year-old contender stripped naked before he stepped on the scale, but his official weight for this 154-pound fight was listed at 152 pounds.
Soro’s team protested and came to a financial agreement with RCC Boxing Promotions to move forward with the fight. Both camps committed to a second-day weigh-in Saturday morning as well.
Kurbanov came in heavier at the second-day weigh-in, according to Berlin, than what was agreed upon after the controversy at the scale Friday. Soro, who made weight Friday and Saturday, was further compensated by RCC Boxing Promotions after Kurbanov missed weight Saturday morning.
“Kurbanov cheated, plain and simple,” Berlin wrote. “And he did it to give himself an unfair advantage over Soro.”
Berlin requested that the RBF sanction Kurbanov and his team members for their conduct at both weigh-ins.
Soro (35-4-2, 24 KOs) entered the ring ranked second among the WBA’s 154-pound contenders, three spots atop the fifth-ranked Kurbanov (25-0, 13 KOs). Berlin also plans to request that the WBA keep Soro in the second spot in its super welterweight rankings, so that this controversial loss doesn’t knock him out of position to get a title shot.
The 35-year-old Soro already endured an infamous ninth-round, technical-knockout loss to Israil Madrimov in December 2021 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Madrimov (9-0-1, 6 KOs), a native of Uzbekistan, hit Soro at least six times after the bell sounded to end the ninth round of their WBA elimination match.
Referee Salvador Salva didn’t hear the bell ring and allowed Madrimov to continue hitting Soro, who was buzzed before the bell sounded. Salva declared Madrimov a TKO winner of what had been a back-and-forth fight.
The boxing commission in Uzbekistan didn’t change the official result, but the WBA ordered an immediate rematch. Their second fight resulted in a technical draw last July 9 at O2 Arena in London because Soro sustained a cut above his left eye from an accidental clash of heads in the third round.