Cameroonian Maxime Njieyo was lucky not to find himself at the center of a viral storm after his fight at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Sunday.
The super-heavyweight boxer accidentally landed a wild punch on Paola Falorni – the referee of his fight with Indian Sagar Ahlawat – and can count himself lucky that she took the hit remarkably well.
The incident happened in the round of 16 in the biggest weight division available.
While in professional boxing the first two divisions are heavyweight and then heavyweight, amateur boxing names them heavyweight and super heavyweight respectively.
As a result, many powerful punches were exchanged between the two fighters.
However, the referee was never intended to be at the end of any of them.
At one point in the fight, Falorni stepped in to break up the boxers as they clinched.
Out of frustration with the fight seemingly not going his way, Njieyo threw a huge left hook to try and catch Ahlawat on the break.
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Ahlawat backed up successfully and the punch missed him completely.
Instead, it flew through the air and landed on the side of Falorni’s face.
Luckily, it didn’t catch her completely clean, though it’s clear from her reaction that she undoubtedly felt the force of the blow.
Anyway, she didn’t come down and just stood there waving at Njieyo with her reckless punch.
He immediately apologized for his mistake bowing to her.
She appeared to accept his apology and the fight resumed.
In the end, Ahlawat won via unanimous decision and advanced to the quarter-finals of the Commonwealth Games.
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