The inaugural installment of NBC Sports Network’s Ring City boxing series will go on as planned, though not without having to overcome adversity and controversy.
Disaster was averted with the evening’s scheduled main event after it was discovered that the padding was removed from a pair of Reyes gloves assigned to Mexico’s Miguel Román, who faces O’Shaquie Foster in a 10-round junior lightweight bout. The grave issue was discovered by Bobby Benton, Foster’s head trainer upon inspection of the opponent’s gloves following Wednesday’s pre-fight weigh-in.
“I’m not sure who is at fault—Reyes boxing gloves or [T]eam Roman—but the gloves they sent had no padding in them at all,” Benton revealed via social media. “I will not let my fighters get cheated.
“Safety of the fighter is what they always say but it’s always the last thing enforced.”
The matter—which was first revealed by Jonathan Leir of Ring Walk Podcast—was brought to the attention of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), who oversees Thursday’s televised event from Wild Card Boxing Gym in Los Angeles. The commission confiscated the gloves, along with the accompanying back-up pair as a precaution. The second pair of gloves appeared free of manipulation or malfunction.
Román (62-13, 47KOs) will now wear Everlast gloves for the bout, which was never at risk of being canceled as the matter was resolved almost as quickly as it was discovered.
Houston’s Foster (17-2, 12KOs) was understandably heated upon learning of the matter but plans to settle the matter in the ring—and in a fair fight.
“He about to get this work,” insisted the streaking 130-pound contender, who is riding a seven-fight win streak.
Pending disciplinary action against Román—if any at all—remains uncertain. An inquiry submitted to CSAC by BoxingScene,com seeking comment was not returned as this goes to publish.
The first installment of the promoter-agnostic series—designed as a springboard for budding contenders in aggressive and competitive matchups—airs live Thursday evening on NBCSN, beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET. The show marks the first of three to run over the next five weeks in that very time slot and from Wild Card Gym.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox