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WBC suspends Andre Dirrell’s trainer indefinitely

Leon Lawson Jr. has been banned from any WBC sanctioned fight for an indeterminate amount of time.

Andre Dirrell v James DeGale Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The WBC is the first organization to take action against Andre Dirrell’s uncle/trainer, Leon Lawson Jr., for throwing a bare-fisted sucker punch at Jose Uzcategui after the fight ended in disqualification. The sanctioning body has indefinitely suspended the trainer from participating in any WBC sanctioned fight “in any form or manner” for his actions, as reported by ESPN:

"The actions, which have been seen all over the world in which Mr. Lawson attacks and punches with bare fists Uzcategui, have created regrettable damage to our sport," the WBC said in a statement. "The WBC rejects any form of foul play, aggression and behavior. We will seek a meeting with Mr. Lawson to offer several forms of help to address this grave situation."

This whole drama began in the 8th round Saturday night when Uzcategui caught Dirrell with a three-punch combination, with the last punch coming after the bell had sounded — knocking Dirrell down hard. The foul wasn’t the most egregious late punch I’ve ever seen, but it was certainly exacerbated by the fact that Uzcategui has been sternly warned earlier in the fight for punching after the bell.

The referee would then summon ringside physicians to come examine Dirrell in an effort to assess whether he was fit to continue in the fight. The doctors ruled that he wasn’t, and because he had been knocked out by an illegal blow, Uzcategui was promptly disqualified.

But the nature of how the late hit took place would divide fans about whether or not it actually warranted a disqualification, combined with some fans openly accusing Dirrell of feigning his inability to continue in order to secure a cheap win. But by the letter of the law a disqualification was indeed the correct ruling.

And amidst all of the confusion and ruckus, Dirrell’s uncle and trainer, Leon Lawson Jr., entered the ring and crept up on Uzcategui, nailing him with a left hook on the jaw while he wasn’t looking. That nearly kicked off a riot in the ring and Lawson Jr. was able to make his way out of the arena while police officers were looking for him.

Dirrell would apologize on his uncle’s behalf in a post-fight interview, saying that he only acted that way out of love and concern for his well being — also mentioning that he should be forgiven just as he forgave Uzcategui for the illegal blow. Whether or not Lawson will be forgiven is one thing, but he’s definitely going to face some serious repercussions going forward.

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