Boxing Referee Tony Weeks Explains His Controversial Ortiz-Lawson Stoppage

Boxing referee Tony Weeks has explained his early stoppage in the Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Fredrick Lawson fight last weekend. 

Ortiz took his record to 20-0 with another knockout to stop Lawson in the first round. That meant Ortiz kept his 100 percent knockout rate alongside Artur Beterbiev. The result was impressive since he was fighting at a contracted weight of 156 pounds, the first time he had done so after moving up from 147. The decision to fight at the weight came after Ortiz collapsed in the build-up for his Eimantas Stanionis fight, which was then cancelled.

Making welterweight was not possible, as all eyes turned on his performance. Despite getting the win, Lawson was conscious at the time of the stoppage. He was on the ropes, blocking some of Ortiz’s right hands and lefts to the body. But his failure to return fire caused Weeks to stop the fight.

In response to the criticism, Weeks has claimed Lawson had a scan which showed an aneurysm, only for another test to give him the all-clear. 

“What the public didn’t know that prior to the fight they did a brain scan on him, and it came up that he had an aneurysm, and they did a test again and the same aneurysm came up. Another doctor was brought in and gave him the same examination and he tested negative for the aneurysm, so they cleared him to fight,” Weeks said 

Weeks has deleted that social media post, but DAZN reporter Beto Duran outlined Weeks’ reasoning, which was explained during an off-camera interaction.

“He stopped the fight because he saw the punishment. He saw that Fredrick’s eyes rolled back and there is no standing eight count, so that’s why he stopped the fight,” Berto stated

Weeks was also called out for a poor stoppage in the Rolando Romero vs Ismael Barroso bout. The referee stopped it in the ninth round as Romero won the vacant WBA junior welterweight title. Barroso was ahead on all the judges’ cards and even dropped Romero. He was also throwing punches at the time of the stoppage.

Now Golden Boy Promotions and the Nevada State Athletic Commission have responded following mass criticism over whether Lawson was placed in danger by being allowed to fight.

“Fredrick Lawson was cleared by a Nevada State Athletic Commission-sanctioned doctor to fight on Saturday night. All other questions should be referred to NSAC [Nevada State Athletic Commission],” Golden Boy Promotions

“On January 6, 2024, a contest was held between Vergil Ortiz and Fredrick Lawson in Las Vegas, Nevada. The contest was under the jurisdiction of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The health and safety of the unarmed combatants that compete in the State are paramount to the Commission. All contestants in the event were subject to full medical examinations and were cleared by medical experts to compete without restrictions. The Commission and its Executive Director (Jeff Mullen) will continue its ongoing practice of reviewing its official’s performance during and after an event,” Nevada State Athletic Commission spokesperson

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