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Jeff Horn vs Tim Tszyu facing judging controversy

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The WBO declined to remove either of the judges in question

Jeff Horn v Tim Tszyu: Weigh In Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Though we’re just hours away from Jeff Horn vs. Tim Tszyu, controversy lingers. Judges Phil Holiday and Chris Condon face questions over their impartiality after a number of allegations arose.

Holiday was reportedly overheard claiming that Tszyu (15-0, 11 KO) was likely to win on cuts due to Horn’s (20-2-1, 13 KO) headfirst approach; chief official Derek Milham spoke to Holiday, who claims that he didn’t “predict” anything and was merely commenting on Horn’s habit of getting sliced up.

“I went and spoke to the judge in question. He’s quite embarrassed and apologised to me about it. He’s very, very professional. Someone asked him and he made the comment that there is some chance that Horn could get cut, he said to me he didn’t predict anything.

“But he made the comment that if Horn loses it, it could be through cut eyes. He apologised to me. It’s a shame it’s gone this way because we had a conference call with Glenn Rushton [weeks ago]. I think it’s a bit of a tactic actually.”

More concerning is Condon’s potential conflict of interest. Not only is he a longtime associate of Kostya Tszyu, appearing in his corner ahead of his legendary victory over Zab Judah, but he owns the Townsville gym in which Tim prepared for this bout.

Despite this, the WBO’s Danny Leigh confirmed that the judge lineup would not change, essentially stating that the threat of accountability would ensure proper scoring.

“Everyone is getting into everyone’s mind, in my opinion. The judges are like the fighters, they want to do world titles as well. So if they perform correctly in a fight like this, that’s when sanctioning bodies look at them and give them a world title fight.

“I’m very aware of the situation and they know their careers are on the line. If they do the wrong thing, the whole world is watching this now. As far as I’m concerned we have the right officials.”

I can literally only recall two modern instances of judges being officially censured and punished for bogus cards: when Paul Williams received a horrendous gift over Erislandy Lara and when the late Clark Sammartino somehow mixed up Ryan Burnett and Lee Haskins despite both fighters having their names on their shorts.

Horn better gun for the finish, is all I’m saying.