VAR once changed boxing world title fight as Charlie Edwards was knocked out but kept his belt after replays showed illegal punch

Charlie Edwards was knocked out but still retained his WBC flyweight title amid bizarre, controversial circumstances in London back in 2019.

A VAR instant replay decision saw Julio Cesar Martinez’s KO immediately overturned by the WBC on the undercard of Vasyl Lomachenko’s victory over Luke Campbell.

Martinez had Edwards badly hurt
Martinez had Edwards badly hurt

The late shot was decisive
The late shot was decisive

After a tight opening two rounds, the Mexican challenger badly hurt the British champion and forced him to sink to the canvas.

However, Martinez then hit Edwards again while he was already down and this shot caused him to writhe around in pain, unable to beat the count.

The Mexican initially celebrated amid the Brit’s devastation, though these scenes were short-lived.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman took to the ring and quickly announced that the decision had been overturned by their instant replay team, who few others even knew were in effect.

The fight was instead ruled a ‘no contest’, so Edwards retained his flyweight world title.

Sulaiman added that an immediate rematch would be ordered to settle the dispute once and for all, though in the end Edwards vacated the belt and moved up in weight.

This was a rare instance of video technology being used in boxing.

VAR is of course now common across other sports such as football, but is seldom ever used in combat sports.

Three years on from Edwards vs Martinez, there is further talk to expand how video replays can be used to improve boxing.

Back in February, Josh Taylor defended his undisputed super-lightweight world titles with a massively controversial split decision win over Jack Catterall, which caused uproar.

The pair are now signed for a rematch on March 4 and promoter Ben Shalom has told White and Jordan on talkSPORT that he hopes to see the introduction of video technology or innovative new judging techniques into boxing to prevent future controversies.

“I actually spoke to Robert Smith [BBBofC chief] about that,” Shalom explained.

“We’re gonna be putting a lot of pressure on for this fight to have – – we’ll see.

“I hope next year is when we’ll see a different way of judging the top fights.

“Look at what we’ve got now with football, with VAR.

Taylor was awarded a controversial win over Catterall
Taylor was awarded a controversial win over Catterall

“Could two judges be sat in a truck [watching on screens] as well, judging at the same time as the three next to ringside.

“There’s opportunities now perhaps if everyone is open-minded to take boxing into a place where it’s never been before.

“That fight is so significant because of the outrage it caused and that’s what’s giving us the impetus to try and make a change.”

Asked directly if he plans to bring VAR into boxing, Shalom said: “That is something that we’re really trying to push and also very confident that we could see in the next year or two, yeah…

“We’re talking about help from technology and we’re talking about perhaps judges that can watch things back at the very highest level.”

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