Parker referee worthy of worry
English referee Terry O’Connor was once likened to legendary robber Dick Turpin for his decision to award Tyson Fury a British heavyweight title win.
O’Connor has been named to control Joseph Parker’s WBO world heavyweight title defence against Hughie Fury in Manchester on September 24 (NZT).
Parker’s promoters Duco Events have cried foul, saying they have a contract that states neutral officials should handle the fight but the British Boxing Board of Control are standing by O’Connor.
Duco pointed out that O’Connor has handled Hughie Fury’s last two fights but it’s his history with cousin Tyson Fury that may be more alarming.
In 2009 O’Connor handed Tyson Fury a points win over fellow Brit John McDermott in a decision that drew outrage.
O’Connor was the ref and sole judge and ruled 98-92 to Fury. The Guardian’s respected boxing correspondent Kevin Mitchell labelled the verdict ‘‘one of the worst ever witnessed’’.
‘‘There are bad decisions in boxing and there are monumental errors - such as the diabolical verdict Terry O’Connor handed down to John McDermott in Brentwood when Tyson Fury clearly got away with a robbery of the highway variety,’’ Mitchell wrote.
McDermott’s promoter Frank Maloney continued the highway robbery theme, saying: ‘‘I’m sure I will be called up before the (British Boxing) Board for my behaviour but Terry O’Connor is a disgrace to British boxing for what he’s done here tonight.
‘‘Why do I want to be in the business when you’re getting robbed? At least Dick Turpin has a mask on when he robs you.’’
The British Boxing Board of Control investigated the decision. They decided not to ban O’Connor but ordered a rematch. Fury won by knockout in the ninth round.
In 2011, Ricky Burns’ manager Alex Morriosn protested the appointment of O’Connor as a judge for his WBO superfeatherweight title fight against Nicky Cook.
O’Connor had been involved in a controversial decision as John Simpson lost his British featherweight title on points to Commonwealth champion Steven Smith with O’Connor’s scoring out of kilter with the two other judges.
‘‘I can’t believe that he’s been selected for this fight after what’s happened in the past,’’ Morrison said. ‘‘Simpson’s fight with Smith was close and if he’d gone a point either way then no-one would have complained but to give it to Smith by six rounds was embarrassing. These decisions go back as far as 1999 when Brian Carr was robbed of the British bantamweight title when O’Connor scored for England’s Patrick Mullings in a fight that Brian clearly won.’’