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Referee Benjy Esteves Jr. addresses his officiating in Eric Hunter vs Mike Oliver

After catching wind of my article that implied Esteves may have had something to hide this past Friday the 13th, he contacted me through email and made a full statement.

Al Bello

On the night before "The One" I was at Harrah's Philadelphia (Casino & Racetrack) to cover what turned out to be a debacle when Eric Hunter was disqualified in round 1 for knocking Mike Oliver out as he rose off the canvas from a slip. To file a complete report I wanted to get comments from all 3 relevant parties in the the ring that night, but referee Benjy Esteves initially declined.  But now he explains his decision and why he wasn't forthcoming on the night:

Hi Ryan,

I just wanted to follow up with you on the Sept 13th fight between Hunter and Oliver.

Just so you are aware in PA we gather all the fighters in one room and we go over the rules so that we do not have to go one on one, this is the way we do the Commission wants it done. And for the record Commissioner Rudy Battle was present as well during the rules meeting.

One of the rules that was covered that night was the fact that if you hit a fighter when he or she is down you will be penalized and if you knock the fighter out its a DQ.

The fighters were in or near the corner so there is no way I can get between them ( we usually just go side to side behind the fighters when they are in or near the corners). Oliver seemed to have slipped to the canvas and I was attempting to come in to wipe his gloves and yes he did "pop" up immediately but that does not give a fighter the right to attack him , I did say either "hold it or stop" loud enough in my opinion for the fighters to hear.

Both of these fighters have had an extensive amateur background where the rules apply the same, when a fighter is down you do not attack, you go to the neutral corner.

But Hunter committed a foul and the unified rules which were being implemented clearly states that we cannot award a win on a foul. The last thing I want to do is to DQ a fighter but under the circumstances my hands were tied.

I meant no disrespect when I turned you down for a comment it's just that I never do interviews and if that offended you I apologize. I have worked many years to keep the integrity of this sport as a top priority and for you to think or believe that I have something to hide really hits home.

I wish you continued success and may God keep you and your loved ones well.



I'm totally satisfied with his answer, even if he did go over the top with wishing me "continued success."  Haha, me, successful in writing and reporting, good stuff...


Ryan Bivins is a staff writer for BadLeftHook. You can contact him on twitter (@sweetboxing) or through email (

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