Weir set for WBO rematch

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The Independent Online

Paul Weir's claims for an immediate World Organisation title rematch against Baby Jake Matlala will be backed by Wiso Fernandez, the Puerto Rican referee who cut short his championship defence in Glasgow last night.

Fernandez, a seasoned campaigner of 77 world title fights, admits to having "mistook" the views of the ringside doctor before stopping Weir's light-flyweight championship defence on a fifth-round gashed eye at the Kelvin Hall and will "advise" the WBO to order a second fight.

A decision in Weir's favour now looks sure to be taken at the WBO's forthcoming convention starting in Las Vegas at the end of the month, and the 28-year- old Scot could be fighting the hero from Soweto, Matlala, for his former title in late February.

"I mistook what the doctor said," Fernandez revealed through an interpreter. "But the referee is the man in charge. I am going to advise the WBO to order a return match."

The ringside doctor, Eamonn Brankin, said: "Weir will need a couple of stitches but I felt at that stage it was safe enough to continue. I was not consulted; it was down to the referee's decision."

The fight ended abruptly when blood streamed from a gash underneath the Scot's right eyebrow. When Fernandez intervened, nobody was sure whether a "no decision" would be declared or that the referee would go to the judges for a points tally and a technical verdict.

It looked more like a case of indecision until Fernandez took the second option, ruled that an unintentional head clash had occurred. Matlala had a point deducted but was still the justified victor by a 38-37 margin on all three cards.