Boxing: Judge admits wrong verdict in Lewis fight

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EUGENIA WILLIAMS, one of the judges at the centre of the controversy over the result of last weekend's world heavyweight title fight between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield, yesterday denied that she had received any pay-off in exchange for giving a verdict in favour of the American fighter. However, she admitted at a hearing here that, having seen the fight replayed on video, she would now score it a draw.

The fight was declared a draw after one judge awarded the verdict to Lewis, a second scored a draw and Williams gave the verdict to Holyfield. Williams had originally scored the fight 115-113 to Holyfield but said that since watching it again she believes she should have given the contentious fifth round to Lewis. In that round the British boxer threw 43 punches to Holyfield's 11.

If Williams had given the fifth round to Lewis - she had originally scored it 10-9 to Holyfield - her overall verdict would have been a 114- 114 draw. However, even with this verdict the fight would have been declared a majority draw because two judges would have reached that verdict. Britain's Larry O'Connell declared the fight a 115-115 draw, while South Africa's Stanley Christodoulou rated Lewis a 116-113 winner.

Williams, a boxing judge for 10 years, who declared bankruptcy six weeks ago, told the state Senate Committee on Investigations: "I scored what I saw when I saw it. What I saw that night is not what the camera saw. They were at a different angle." She also said that during several rounds, including the fifth, her vision had been blocked by ringside photographers.

Williams, who works as a $39,200-a-year (pounds 24,000) accounts clerk, confirmed reports that she had filed for bankruptcy recently, but denied that there had been any attempt by anyone to help her financially in exchange for influencing her judgment. "Absolutely not," she said.