Kim Clavel can accept defeat. However, she has a hard time accepting injustice.
Saturday, at Place Bell, her entire clan had the impression of being the victim of a serious injustice following her loss by split decision against Argentina’s Evelin Bermudez. Its promoter first.
Yvon Michel had very harsh words towards the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux and judge Benoît Roussel. The latter handed a card of 96-94 in favor of Bermudez (19-1-1, 6 KOs), just like judge Frank Lombardi.
These two scores made the difference: Bill Lerch saw the fight 98-92 in favor of the 33-year-old Quebecer.
” It was [samedi] my 74e world championship fight. All over the world when preparing for such a fight, athletic commissions present the judges to the promoters. We don’t choose them, but if we have apprehension about a judge, we say it and out of courtesy, we always remove it. It was also like that before in Quebec. »
“When the Régie [des alcools, des courses et des jeux] introduced the judges to us, we said: “We don’t want Benoît Roussel. Take anyone, but not him. We have statistics on him and it’s not pretty.” But they chose him. »
Michel explained further. He assures that his organization keeps statistics on the judges’ cards and that Bernard Barré, his right-hand man within GYM, had informed him that if Roussel was mandated for this fight, he would have to ask the Régie to remove him.
“We did not want to go public with our request. We didn’t want to harm him. We just wanted to have someone else. Anyone actually. […] We weren’t asking for the sea to drink, but we didn’t want to find ourselves in this situation today. If another judge arrives at the same result, he would be given the benefit of the doubt. But in his case…”
Reached on Sunday morning, the RACJ did not wish to fuel the controversy.
“The Régie will not issue any comments at this stage,” Joyce Tremblay, spokesperson for the organization, said by email. Furthermore, rest assured that the judges chosen, in this case Mr. Roussel, have the required qualifications and skills and our organization does not allow itself to be influenced by the requests of promoters. You are probably aware that Mr. Roussel has an international reputation. »
On this point, Mme Tremblay makes a credible argument: Benoît Roussel has worked all over the world and has officiated at numerous world championships. He judged a total of 816 fights in his career.
Michel also accused Roussel of having been the judge giving a draw in the Marie-Pier Houle fight on Saturday, won by majority decision by the Quebecer. Rather, it was judge Sylvain Leblanc who gave a score of 76-76. Roussel had 77-75 in favor of Houle.
Michel and Stéphan Larouche were in Eric Lucas’s corner on April 5, 2003 when the Magogois was robbed by Markus Beyer. They did not hesitate to compare the two events.
“When you experience an injustice like that, it’s difficult to find your motivation afterwards,” said Larouche, comments very close to those made by Clavel’s coach, Danielle Bouchard.
“It’s very difficult to digest,” she said. The people who have always encouraged us will still have to be behind us. It can give us the momentum that will propel us forward even better. But it will be one day at a time. »
What will be next for Clavel (17-2, 3 KOs)? Her entire clan is convinced that she still belongs to the world elite. This performance should not push it back too much in the rankings. But with Yesica Nery Plata and Bermudez sharing the four belts, she’s a bit stuck.
“I can do 105 like I can fight at 112 pounds. I am open to everything,” said Clavel.
But what happens next could be complicated. This is because Clavel’s potential adversaries, when they see this very high level performance, will demand a high price.
“Girls will not come here to fight for peanuts, dropped Larouche. And going abroad is not an option. I asked Bermudez’s promoter how much they gave for opponents in Argentina. She told me around $20,000. No chance we’re going to fight there for that price. »
One thing is clear: this will not be a rematch against Bermudez. Clavel was his mandatory contender in the IBF and WBO — both belts retained by Bermudez — and the Argentine shouldn’t take the chance of reliving the same kind of night a second time.
Marie-Pier Houle (9-1-1, 2 KOs) for her part found her way to victory against Cindy Reyes (4-2), whom she defeated by split decision.
This was his first foray into the super-lightweight (140 pounds) after having fought his first 10 fights at the welterweight (147 pounds). She also lost to Sandy Ryan in the world championship in her last outing.
Houle admitted to taking too many blows in this duel, especially to the body. She added that Reyes gave the performance she expected, which may not have been her case.
“I’m never 100% satisfied,” she said. I demonstrated that I was there. I demonstrated that I was capable of boxing, of being active on my feet. She hit me a lot on the body, it’s clear that it slowed me down and changed my game plan. But the important thing is victory. I’m happy with that. »