British Boxing Board of Control accused of racism and discrimination

The British Boxing Board of Control are facing serious accusations of racism and discrimination.

These have come from two of their former referees/judges, Ian John-Lewis and Jeff Hinds, and flyweight boxer Ruqsana Begum, but the board have denied all the allegations.


Begum had her first three pro bouts in the UK, before having to continue her career abroadCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Hinds has worked on 1,615 fights over a 25 year career


Hinds has worked on 1,615 fights over a 25 year careerCredit: Sportsfile
And John-Lewis has been a referee/judge since 1996


And John-Lewis has been a referee/judge since 1996Credit: Getty

In a report aired by Channel 4, Begum reveals that the dealings she has had with the board have led her to believe they are ‘racist’.

One of Begum’s experiences came when her license was suspended a few weeks after she was reprimanded for wearing leggings in the ring, which she had done out of respect for her religion being Muslim.

The board cited two regulations for her suspension, one regarding her fitness and another relating to boxers who had lost four fights in a row, despite Begum only having had three professional fights at the time, losing twice and drawing once.

Begum felt she had been discriminated against and after a few months she handed in her license, as well as providing the board with a detailed account of the discrimination she had dealt with, and she continued her career abroad, putting together a record of 3-2-1.

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Referee/judge Ian John-Lewis is another person levelling accusations of racism against the board, along with his colleague Jeff Hinds.

The pair are the only two black referees/judges who were employed by the board, although neither still work for the BBBoC and John-Lewis is employed by another organisation.

For John-Lewis it all began when he was judging the world title fight between Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall last year and he scored it 114-111 in favour of the Scot, despite the fact that most people believed Catterall had comfortably won the contest.

In the aftermath, John-Lewis was downgraded from an A Star Class to an A Class Official, meaning he could no longer referee or judge world title or British title fights.

“I’m absolutely disgusted,” John-Lewis told Channel 4. “They used a scapegoat. They were under so much pressure the British Boxing Board of Control that they needed someone to be punished and they chose me… They singled me out and I believe it’s because I’m black.”

In response, the board have said that they have “continued to invest significantly in seeking to promote diversity and inclusion” and “a review of equality and diversity is underway”, as well as acknowledging there is more to be done.

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