Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Letter to the Executive Director of the Ohio Athletic Commission

The following letter was sent to Bernie Profato, the Executive Director of the Ohio Athletic Commission, on July 4, 2017 in reference to the performance of the Ohio-appointed officials during the Jamontay Clark-Ivan Golub fight, which occurred on June 30th. Also referenced was a scorecard from the Robert Easter Jr.-Denis Shafikov bout, which served as the main event for that fight card. 

Mr. Profato:

I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with the Ohio-appointed officials for the Jamontay Clark-Ivan Golub fight, which occurred on June 30th in Toledo. Before I proceed, let me emphasize that I have no attachment to or relationship with either of the combatants in the fight. I am responding to you as an independent entity that has followed boxing for a number of years and maintains a website (saturdaynightboxing.com) that covers the sport. 

The performance of the Ohio officials during the Clark-Golub fight was distressing on many levels. The fight itself was competitive; however, all whom I've talked to on social media that watched the match or attended the bout at the arena believed that Golub, the fighter not from Ohio, should have been the rightful victor. The broadcasters on Bounce TV, which televised the bout, had Golub as the winner. Yet, Clark was declared the winner of the bout by unanimous decision. One scorecard in particular, the 79-73 card turned in by Ken Bucher, had Golub only winning one round, despite two rounds (the 4th and 5th) where Clark looked like he was about to get knocked out. These rounds were as clear as possible to score for Golub. 

In addition, referee James Howe looked like he missed a clear knockdown in the 4th round, which he called a slip. Ultimately, all four of the officials made decisions which enabled the home-state fighter (Clark) to win. 

After reviewing the records of Howe, Bucher and the other two judges, Jamie Garayua and Rosemary Gross, it struck me how little experience these officials actually had in professional boxing. (The following numbers come from boxrec.com.) 

Bucher has only judged 17 bouts in 9 years, an average of less than two fights a year. Prior to 2017, he hadn't judged since December of 2014. 

Gross has only judged 40 bouts in her career, and only two of those were 10-round fights. Again, it's clear that Gross is a relatively new judge who is trying to break in as a professional official. 

Garayua has judged 111 fights, but Garayua's last 10-round fight was in 2014 and before that it had been in 2012. Garayua doesn't seem to be a judge who gets top assignments in Ohio, which usually has several large cards throughout a calendar year. Perhaps I am reading into things that aren't there, but Garayua's assignment record speaks for itself. 

Finally, this was only referee James Howe's seventh professional fight. Overall, this was a crew of officials that lacked top-fight experience. Although Clark-Golub was only an eight-round fight, it was part of a national TV broadcast. Moreover, both fighters were considered significant prospects in professional boxing. 

I understand that in your role as Executive Director, it is part of your job to break in new officials and provide them with experience in increasingly challenging settings. However, wouldn't you allow that perhaps this fight included too many novices? Wouldn't one or even two officials with little experience suffice for such an important matchup? Why have four in one fight? 

Ultimately, when those in the boxing industry witness decisions such as those of Clark-Golub, as well as Garayua's 120-108 scorecard for local fighter Robert Easter Jr. in the main event (which was highly competitive), they may become hesitant about sending their fighters to Ohio and participating in boxing in your jurisdiction. This could have financial ramifications for the Ohio Athletic Commission and the cities which would benefit economically by staging high-profile fights. 

I know that you have served as Executive Director for over a decade, a sign that those in Columbus have faith in your judgment and administrative acumen. I would just like to ask that new officials be mixed in with veteran ones to create a better balance, which may lead to more objective results. In addition, it may be appropriate to review Bucher's Clark-Golub and Garayua's Easter-Shafikov cards. These steps will ensure that the Ohio Athletic Commission continues to conduct itself with the utmost standards of integrity and that Ohio is a welcoming jurisdiction for fighters of all backgrounds, geographies and nationalities. 


Adam Abramowitz
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Should you wish to contact Mr. Profato, he can be reached at:
You can also contact the commission at 330-797-2556.

Adam Abramowitz is the founder/head writer of saturdaynightboxing.com
He's a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
Email: saturdaynightboxing@hotmail.com 
@snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook. 


  1. You are right, I saw the fight and was so Dissapointment (for me)... Please commission,do what is correcta.

  2. Hi.
    I'm a former Pro Referee in Ohio with exactly 100 fights experience listed in Boxrec.com.
    "I thought it would be a good number to stop Ref'ing and move onto other things in my life!"

    My opinion is that Officiating big fights in Ohio is like working for the Supranos AKA
    "The Mob".
    You are either "A Made Guy!" or you
    are not. If "Made" you get the most newsworthy fights and If Not, you still get work, which I myself appreciated.

    Just a year or two back a new Ref with very few amateur fights and less than 8 pro fights worked bouts on Showtime. He has the nod from Profato and his Chief Inspector in Columbus.
    "Good for him!" But there are many Officials who have worked only lower level bouts and never get the call with many years of experience. They never got the nod.

    One other thing: once you lose favor with the leadership you will not work big shows or not at all.

    Profato is ok as an AD but that is about it - he gets set in a viewpoint and thinks a Judge or Referee is the same person they were ten or twelve years earlier with no more gained experience.

    All in all - almost all Organizations and States are ran the same way in pro boxing.