Home Boxing News Cherneka Johnson could run it back with Nina Hughes after controversial victory

Cherneka Johnson could run it back with Nina Hughes after controversial victory

Nine Hughes and Cherneka Johnson. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Cherneka ‘Sugar Neekz’ Johnson 16-2 (6) became a two-weight world champion in controversial circumstances when she defeated Nina Hughes 6-1 (2) by majority decision at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia on Sunday afternoon.

The fight took place on the undercard of the vacant IBF lightweight title fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and George Kambosos Jr.

The 41-year-old Hughes of England entered the ring as the WBA bantamweight champion but left without her belt after Johnson was awarded the victory by score of 96-94, 98-92 and 95-95.

But it was the scores themselves that were at the centre of the controversy, but rather how they were delivered.

Ring announcer Lieutenant Dan Hennessey initially announces Hughes as the winner and had to call both boxers back to centre ring to correct his mistake.

Hughes was devastated at the result and how it was all handled.

“How can they announce I had won and then change the scores?” Hughes said. “I thought I’d dominated early. I thought she won a few of the later rounds but I felt like I won it comfortably. I don’t get how you can announce the winner and then change the scores.”

The 29-year-old Johnson, who previously held the IBF super bantamweight title before moving down in weight, was happy to get the win in a close fight.

“I’m not the judge, and I’m just glad that they figured out the wrong decision,” the New Zealand-born Australian said. “Nina was a tough fight… I’m not the judges, but I definitely think I won that fight. I’m just over the moon I won this bout.”

Promoter Lou di Bella said reading out the scorecards incorrectly was inexcusable.

“An announcement that’s wrong shouldn’t happen,” he said. “It was a very close fight.

“I’m shocked. It’s unfair to have to sit through that. To celebrate and have the decision for a moment.

“That’s screwed up.”

For his part, Hennessey took full ownership of his error, posting to social media: “I own it. It’s all on me. I take full responsibility for the Cherneka Johnson v Nina Hughes controversy. Not the judges, not the sanctioned body. Me.

“I have apologised to all involved and now I apologise to you. I am sorry for what happened. Again, I own it and can only try to do better next time.

“Not my best day in the office. I guess all the shitty comments on socials I have coming, Again, I m crushed and sorry for my shitstorm of a performance. You all deserved better. Sorry again.”

Speaking at the post-fight press conference, Johnson said they could run it back.

“I had mixed emotions because I had [the victory] taken away, but to be a new two-time world champion is pretty amazing,” Johnson said.

“It would have been a real shit position to be in, to be announced the winner and be called back, you are not the winner and you lose your belt. So I do feel for her, but for me, I do believe I won that fight.

“I overheard that it was the wrong decision. I sort of knew what I was expecting.

“If there is a rematch, there is a rematch.”