Vs: Re: XPLOSION 7: Wakeling VS Levin
Dear English Muaythai friends,
We have received a number of emails, both from Russia and England regarding the recent Artem vs. Wakeling contest. To begin, let me strongly state that we should give the fighters the respect they deserve. They both gave it their all. If after a fight, a trainer rudely insults the opposing camp because of, in his opinion, a “wrong” decision, this is seen as being disrespectful in our sport. The fact that opponents shake hands and drink water out of one another’s corners makes our sport stand out from others. That is why the reported behaviour after the Artem vs. Wakeling fight is so deeply disappointing.
Coming to the fight itself, Levin Artem was chosen by the promoter, not the by WMC. Both are respected fighters and the World title is a vacant one, as the old Champion has stepped up to a higher division. The promoter asked us for sanctioning of a World title. In turn, we asked the Russian camp if Levin would be willing to fight for this vacant World title. The answer was no, because as a World Champion, Levin could not enter the upcoming World Championships in St. Petersburg. He chose to put national pride before having a belt on the wall, as it is more important for him to fight with the Russian World team than to have a single World title fight. That kind of spirit is why Russia always has such a strong team at the World Championships.
As the WMC, we must respect the decision made by Levin. No contract or agreement was ever made with Levin’s management that he would fight for a World title. The promoter was well informed about this and so it was simply declared a normal fight. We certainly also must thank the promoter for putting on such a great promotion with hopefully many more to come.
You have doubtless already seen this from an email sent by our Vice President which has been published online (It should be noted that in future, personal communication between the WMC and promoters should remain confidential). As the email states, when the Russians declined, our Vice President suggested an honourary M.A.D. title. Our Vice President has no decision making authority, even when it comes to World title fights, as it is between the WMC President, Ranking Commission and General Secretary.
To inform you about the procedure for lodging an official protest: We understand that emotions can run high when camps, and in this case the father of the fighter, see a different fight than the judges. Instead of insulting one’s visitors, however, one should instead immediately sit down, write a protest and submit it to the national federation and/or supervisor and email it to the head office. As is done in many other cases, when the head office receives an official protest, it is then passed on to the head of the WMC Technical Committee, who by the way is the head of Lumpinee Stadium. The Head of the Technical Committee then appoints three independent judges who review the disputed fight, re-score it and gives a final decision. The national federation, athletes and all relevant parties are then informed of this final decision via the WMC HQ. This is the correct procedure to follow in cases where one entertains doubts about the outcome of a fight.
However, we will not accept any protest in this instance, firstly for the simple reason that the deadline for lodging an official protest has already passed and secondly that appallingly unsportsmanlike behaviour was displayed. For serious people who are interested in how to resolve disputes with civility, please feel free to contact the WMC through our official channels. We will be happy to inform you of the full procedural details which regulate lodging an official protest.
Regarding UKMF, which is our member, it is very unfair to blame the national federation. They have done an outstanding job in trying to get the sport of Muaythai recognised by Sport England. Muaythai is on the way to becoming IOC recognised. This is an achievement which is being worked toward through the enforcement of professional standards and the application of correct procedure.
To be blunt, English Muaythai has taken a step backward in this instance, not due to any flaws in judging, since there are official mechanisms in place to resolve these kinds of issues, but due to unsportsmanlike behaviour and the distinct lack of civility extended towards a guest athlete in England.
If there is any lesson to be learned, it is the following: Steve has earned his respect in the fighting world and so has Levin. No one can call this into question. The letter we have received from Russia reveals the poor light in which England has been portrayed thanks to the behaviour displayed, however, there is not a single harsh word in it for Steve Wakeling, who is respected as a worthy opponent and a possible rematch is being considered by the Russians. It is unfortunate that this has occurred to tarnish the reputation of England, yet there are many coaches and athletes in England which have raised English Muaythai to the high standard that it is at today. Their hard work is not in jeopardy. We have also learned an important lesson; that judges should not discuss decisions on internet forums, that promoters should not make public private communications and that coaches should teach not only the fighting aspect of muaythai but also the honourable values which come with it.
In one internet post which was brought to my attention, posted by Steve’s father: “Muaythai does not build character, it reveals it”. We would like to add that character involves showing grace in defeat as much as in victory; in showing grace, in fact, under all circumstances.
In closing, the WMC would again like to ask that the athletes be respected, win or lose, and that in future official procedure be followed in matters of this nature.
I would like to reiterate that this ends my involvement with this discussion on open forums. I wish both athletes all the best for their future fights.
Sport Director, WMC