The split decision eighth round victory of Joel De La Cruz over former WBA champion Somsak Sithchatchawal has been officially amended to a draw after an apparent error in tallying the scorecards.
Lando Mendoza of the Games and Amusements Board in Cebu said such errors are known to have happened in fights abroad.
He said there was no problem on the scorecards of the three judges -- Edward Ligas and Salven Lagumbay of the Philippines and Saween Taweekon of Thailand -- after seven rounds.
However, at the end of round eight when he tallied the scorecards, Mendoza admitted he thought the 10-9 score in favor of de La Cruz was by Lagumbay and not from the Thai judge. When the error was brought to his attention by Lagumbay after the announcement, Mendoza said the GAB made the correction and instead of a win, de La Cruz had to settle for a draw.
Mendoza said there was no problem with the scorecard of Ligas who scored it for the Filipino, 77-74. However, his error in virtually switching the scorecards of Taweekon and Lagumbay in the final round caused the problem.
Mendoza admitted his mistake. “[I] saw the final round score 10-9 he thought it was Salven because he is a Filipino judge, but the 10-9 score was that of Taweekon while Lagumbay’s score was also 10-9 but for Somsak of the Kokiet gym,” he said.
When he finally made the correct tally, Mendoza said the scorecards read Ligas, 77-74, in favor of de La Cruz, Lagumbay, 76-75, in favor of Somsak while the Thai judge scored it 76-76.
Mendoza said they didn’t correct the announcement made by ring announcer Rico Navaro for fear that “the fans would create trouble” but said they showed the scorecards to both camps and told them it was a clerical error and they both accepted the explanation and didn’t complain.”
Boxing manager and promoter Rex “Wakee” Salud was furious over the end result. “[I] couldn’t understand how the Thai judge gave the final round to the Filipino but a Filipino judge gave it to the Thai.” Ronnie Nathanielsz