O’Meara hits out at referee who considered stopping Symonds fight

PUBLISHED: 15:39 24 April 2013 | UPDATED: 15:39 24 April 2013

Steve O'Meara

Steve O'Meara

Rob Newell/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

Steve O’Meara has slammed referee Robert Williams for twice trying to stop the contest during Saturday’s frustrating six-round victory over Chas Symonds at Wembley Arena.

The former Dale Youth ABC star sustained cuts on both eyes, caused by Symonds’ bizarre wrestling-style rough-up and play-acting tactics, which led Williams to consider ending the fight in both rounds three and four.

Eventually the fight continued and O’Meara – who was back in the ring for the first time since his Commonwealth light-middleweight title defeat by Liam Smith – emerged with a 58-56 points success.

But the 29-year-old, whose professional record now reads 17 wins from 20 fights, admitted he was in panic mode when he sensed that Williams wanted to halt proceedings on a cuts stoppage.

“I was pleading with him,” said O’Meara. “I said to him ‘I can see fine ref’, but he wasn’t listening to me. The first person you should ask is the fighter and see if he can see.

“At least test me rather than telling me I can’t see. It didn’t feel like he was on my side at all and he’s meant to be doing what he can for the fighters.

“When the crowd come and pay good money, the last thing they want is to see a fight stopped prematurely. The referee obviously didn’t seem to give a monkey’s about that and if he’d stopped that fight I would have been really disappointed in him and boxing in general.

“I half-panicked and thought there’s no way I was going to let the fight get stopped, so I tried to get him [Symonds] out of there.

“That was probably not the best idea and they weren’t the tactics when I went in there with, but I felt I had to do something. The only thing I’ll take from that is experience – next time I’ve just got to keep my cool.”

On the undercard of the marathon 14-fight bill, Wembley welterweight Gary Corcoran moved to six straight wins after comfortably outpointing Tottenham’s Mark McKray.

Kingsbury’s veteran former Olympic gold medallist Audley Harrison is back in action this Saturday at Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, taking on American big hitter Deontay Wilder in a 10-rounder.

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