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WBC Corruption? – Details of McMahon’s Mexico Nightmare

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Martin ‘Frick’ McMahon has revealed the full and damning details of the farcical circumstances that surrounded Christina McMahon’s unsuccessful WBC super flyweight title fight against Zulina Muñoz on March 12th.

With a rematch long-promised but seemingly no closer to materialising, head trainer and husband Martin has exclusively told Irish-Boxing.com the laundry list of reasons – the most important of which being a succession of serious failings in terms of anti-doping – as to why the original result should be viewed with suspicion and be reconsidered a ‘no contest.’

McMahon [now 7(3)-2(0)] took on Mexican Muñoz in Ciudad Juarez, losing a controversial ten-round points decision.  McMahon explained that, even before the two boxers stepped into the ring, he had some serious reservations. The day before the munoz weigh inweigh-in he received a request, which he promptly refused, to agree to have the fight at a 117lb catchweight – 2lbs above the super flyweight limit. Indeed even further back, there had been no 30 day or 7 day WBC check-weights, something which is supposedly for all title fights.

Despite the earlier fears, Muñoz, who was making the eighth defence of her green belt, made weight.

While McMahon is by no means accusing Muñoz of any improprieties, the nature of modern sport, the request for a catchweight, and the lack of checkweights, leads him to believe that a healthy level of skepticism should be enforced here. Indeed the goings-on in the aftermath of the fight only add more smoke.

Fight night proved to be an unmitigated disaster in so many ways – save for a career-best performance from the Monaghan woman in the ring.

With an unusual lack of a rules meeting, McMahon had to demand for there to be WBC supervisors in each corner for the bout, common for most fights never mind a World title fight. This came after he was told by chief WBC supervisor on the night, Dr. Lorenzo Soberanes Maya, “we don’t use supervisors in the corners.”

Then during the inspection of both fighters’s gloves, Jim Upton (McMahon’s cutman) noticed a peculiar smell from Muñoz’s gloves. Upton recognized the smell as being similar to a heat rub and had these fears confirmed when he rubbed the glove and rubbed his fingers under his eyes, causing them to redden and water profusely.

Understandably a change of gloves was requested, but Dr. Soberanes Maya claimed that he had no other gloves. The supervisor did have one spare pair of gloves, however these had extra padding and were akin to training gloves. Upton was forced to clean Muñoz’s suspect gloves, which remember are for a World title fight, with some spare baby-wipes he had in his kitbag.

The fight came and went, with McMahon dubiously losing on the cards (94-96 x2, 94-94). Mexican TV commentators noted during the latter parts of the fight that they expected “a big appeal here if McMahon doesn’t get this.” Indeed such was the baffling nature of the scorecards, some Mexican fans even booed and threw beer cans at the ring afterwards. However, the farce behind the scenes mean that the dodgy cards are probably the least damning issue of the whole fight.

Question marks continued to be raised in the immediate aftermath. McMahon was told by Dr. Soberanes Maya that there would be no post-fight anti-doping test – despite it being dictated in the contract and the rules agreement signed earlier that day.

Soberanes Maya explained to McMahon that “we don’t do anti-doping tests here,” before back-tracking when challenged by McMahon and claiming that the promoter had failed to book anti-doping officials for the night as they didn’t have the money to pay for them.

McMahon asked Dr. Soberanes Maya why, as WBC Supervisor, he allowed the fight to go ahead without anti-doping being confirmed before getting him to re-read the rules agreement.

McMahon requested to also see the rules agreement but was continually denied by Soberanes Maya who eventually admitted that “you’re correct” (that there should be anti-doping testing after the fight) and then proposed that “we will get containers and do test ourselves.”

McMahon obviously had reservations about this as testing should be done by trained, and neutral, anti-doping officials, however he was dismissed by Soberanes Maya who further contradicted his earlier claims and told McMahon that “that’s not how we do it in Mexico, we do it ourselves and send it to the anti-doping agency.”

The doping farce continued as the samples were collected in hastily-emptied cotton bud tubs rather than the uncontaminated sealable containers one would expect for a drug test – never mind one for a World title fight.

cotton budsDr. Soberanes Maya and another doctor both claimed that they were official containers – despite McMahon witnessing a doctor remove the cotton buds from the container just minutes earlier and the fact that there was a sticker on the tub which read [translated] ‘Multiaplicadores 59k double cotton applicators. Material healing unsterilized. Store in a dry place.’

Better than nothing, McMahon agreed to the test, however had to wait an hour and a half for the two dehydrated boxers to be able to give a sample. Incredibly the venue could only provide two fun-sized bottles of water.

Muñoz was the first of the fighters ready to give a sample and the doctor bizarrely requested for McMahon to be present, rather than a non-existent anti-doping official, to witness the test. A few minutes later Christina went to the same doctor to proceed with giving her sample and was informed that Muñoz had already provided her sample.

McMahon then attempted to give her sample but found it impossible to do so as the containers had holes in the bottom – raising the question of how did Muñoz give her unseen sample.

With it now being 5am in the morning, both teams left the venue.

McMahon continued his insistence that Muñoz be tested properly and, after arriving back in Ireland, he was provided with doping test results for Muñoz, for samples dated March 17th – a suspicious five full days after the fight.

drug testThe tests were negative – however they were taken at a clinic in Mexico, Laboratorio Médico del Chopo, which is not a World Anti-Doping Agency-approved facility.

Between the goings on beforehand, the testing on the night, and the use of a non-WADA lab afterwards, the saga makes a mockery of the organization’s prided ‘Clean Boxing Programme.’

This programme, which is in association with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), states that “all WBC World Champions, designated challengers and the top fifteen WBC-rated fighters in each weight class are subject to random, year-round unannounced testing for performance enhancing drugs and prohibited methods.”

“VADA uses only laboratories accredited and in good standing with the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) and WADA-certified sample collectors.”

As seen above, nothing of the sort occurred in Juarez in March.

Perhaps knowing that they are in the wrong, the WBC have been promising McMahon a rematch with Muñoz the last five months, but nothing concrete has arisen thus far.

Speaking to Irish-Boxing.com, McMahon notes how “you can only stay quiet for so long.”

Immediately after the fight he sent the WBC four requests – 1) to check the integrity of the gloves, 2) order Zulina Muñoz to take an official anti-doping test in a WADA-approved lab, 3) declare the result of the fight a ‘No Contest’ due to multiple major rules breachs, and 4) order a rematch between Muñoz and Christina McMahon within 3 months.

Three months have come and gone since and none of the requests have been heeded. A rematch has long been promised and indeed looked likely for Dublin next month – however the WBC have again began to drag their feet.

To add insult to injury, in one of his correspondences WBC Chief Legal Council Alberto León, McMahon was informed that “the WBC Female Committee reviewed a video of the subject fight and scored it without any sound to avoid biases. While the fight was competitive and Ms. McMahon landed good counterpunches, the Committee’s scoring fully supported the official judges’ scores.”

This raises serious issues as to why the bout wasn’t scored by an independent body, and instead was reviewed by a committee with zero judging experience at any level.

Christina McMahon feels the main reason why a rematch with the WBC poster girl is unlikely to occur, “I’m not surprised Muñoz’s team doesn’t want to have a rematch, the reaction from her corner, body language. and lack of celebration after the fight said it all.”

Sadly we may never know.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie

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