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Golota Protest Denied by Athletic Commission

July 18, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York State Athletic Commission handed Andrew Golota another defeat.

Golota filed a protest last Friday, a day after the fighter was disqualified in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden for repeated low blows in his bout against Riddick Bowe.

``Golota’s protest was denied by a letter dated July 16. It’s an outright denial,″ Gwenn Lee, spokesperson for the commission, said Wednesday night. ``He was disqualified under the major foul section.″

The disqualification ended one of the strangest heavyweight fights in history. When it was over, another wilder fight ensued when Bowe’s manager, Rock Newman, stormed across the ring at Golota. The fracas, which resulted in 16 arrests and 22 injuries, raged for more than 30 minutes before more than 250 police officers and Garden security personnel managed to restore order.

There were more repercussions Wednesday, this time in the courtroom. Three men filed a $4.5 million lawsuit against the arena, Bowe and Newman.

Louis Calemine, Alex Vodofsky and Mitchell Sterlacci say in court papers that they were trampled, punched and stomped when the fighting broke out after the disqualification.

The Golota camp, led by promoter Dino Duva, said the rule book was clear and Golota should have been awarded the victory.

``If you go down from a low blow, you have to get up before the count of 10. It says it right in the rules,″ Duva said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, citing the official ``low-blow″ clause from the rule book. ``You’re out! You lose the fight. It says it very specifically in the rules, whether it’s from a legal or an illegal blow.″

The commission, however, cited other rules.

``The referee was well within his discretion to call the fight,″ Lee said. ``The disqualification resulted from his persistent failure to heed referee (Wayne) Kelly’s repeated warnings about low blows, and not because of any injury.

``Why go through the count procedure? You’re requiring a count for a boxer who’s claiming an injury. At that point it’s incumbent on the referee (to stop the fight). That ended it right there. Boom! That’s it.″

Lee said Madison Square Garden was still holding Bowe’s $5 million paycheck pending completion of the commission investigation.

Even though their efforts proved fruitless, Duva took pains to illustrate how much safety the modern-day protective cup provides. Longtime boxing cornerman Howie Albert, a smile creasing his face, grabbed a 30-ounce Louisville slugger baseball bat _ a New York Yankee model signed by former catcher Jake Gibbs _ and smacked 22-year-old Chris Fox six times below the belt. Fox, who was sporting the latest in protective paraphernalia, never flinched.

``You really can’t feel it,″ Fox said.

Golota looked on but declined to speak with reporters because of a severe headache stemming from a 13-stitch gash in his head, compliments of a run-in with a walkie talkie in the fight after the fight. There were no answers to allegations that he is wanted by the law in his homeland.

Jacek Wasilewski, head of the Polish Boxing Association, on Wednesday said in Warsaw that Golota faces 6-year-old charges of assault and robbery. Golota beat a young man who tore a sleeve on his jacket and also took the man’s shoes and jeans, Wasilewski said. Prosecutors filed charges after the incident was reported to the Polish police.

Golota, now 28, appealed to Wasilewski for help, but fled to the United States a few days later and has lived in Chicago since 1991. Duva said he was aware of the incident, but called it ``no big deal.″

Golota, a bronze medalist at the 1988 Olympics, will rest until September. There are no plans for a rematch with Bowe. Lou Duva, Golota’s coach-trainer, made it clear that Golota would be handled with kid gloves from now on.

``I’m going to try to teach him a little better, a little different, and make him understand what it’s all about,″ said the 74-year-old trainer, who appeared fully recovered from the chest pains he suffered in the post-fight melee. ``But I’ve got to watch myself, that I don’t take his instinct and his desire to fight out there. That’s his biggest attribute. If I take that away from him, you’ve got nothing.″

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