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French Boxing Official Resigns Amid Controversy Over Yoka vs. Merhy Decision

 Robin Dolpierre, the president of the France-based National League for Professional Boxing and a former referee under the World Boxing Council, has tendered his resignation following a controversial statement regarding the outcome of the recent heavyweight clash between France's Tony Yoka and Belgium's Ryad Merhy. The 10-round bout, held last Saturday in Paris, left the boxing community in disarray as Dolpierre argued that Yoka should have been awarded a decision based on being the A side.

Merhy, a career cruiserweight and considered a big underdog, narrowly clinched victory on two of the scorecards, with judges Christophe Beaurain and Ammar Sakraoui scoring it 96-94 in favor of the Belgian. Vincent Dupas, the third judge, saw it the other way, 96-94, in favor of Yoka. All three judges were French.

Yoka, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist for France, suffered his third consecutive loss, raising concerns about the trajectory of his once-promising career. Dolpierre's resignation was promptly accepted by Dominique Nato, the president of the Federation Francaise de Boxe (FFBOXE), the governing body for amateur and professional boxing in France.

The controversy erupted when Dolpierre suggested to L'Equipe, a French newspaper, that the judges should have favored Yoka due to his status as the hometown fighter, citing an unofficial custom prevalent in other countries. In response, Nato expressed "total opposition" to Dolpierre's claims, emphasizing the importance of fair judging.

"Dupas was right," Dolpierre insisted. "Yoka needed help, but his head was pushed under water. How can he come back after three defeats? In England, in a similar fight, the local boxer would have won."

Dolpierre's controversial remarks continued as he argued that Yoka's promoter, Jerome Abiteboul, played a role in the unfavorable decision. He claimed that a different promoter, such as Michel Acariès, could have influenced the judges' verdict in Yoka's favor.

The disgraced boxing official's comments have fueled concerns about the sport's integrity, with critics decrying the perception of corruption within the boxing community. Dolpierre, who has officiated fights for over two decades, concluded by stating, "We've done more harm to boxing than if we had given the win [to Yoka]."

The fallout from Dolpierre's resignation and the controversy surrounding the Yoka vs. Merhy bout are likely to cast a shadow over the sport, raising questions about the transparency and fairness of boxing officiating.


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