Police manhunt sucker-puncher trainer

May 21, 2017
Following the fight, Uzcategui was hit in the face by Leon Lawson, his opponent's uncle

Lawson threw a left hand into the face of the fighter before landing a flurry of blows

Super-middleweight world champion Andre Dirrell’s uncle launched into a frenzy of punches on opponent Jose Uzcategui after his nephew’s win by disqualification on Saturday night.

In chaotic scenes at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland, trainer Leon Lawson entered the ring to attack a stunned Uzcategui following the fight for the interim IBF belt.

The Venezuelan was hit with a left hook by Lawson, who followed up with his right hand having stormed his corner to spark a brawl.

Andre Dirrell's opponent Jose Uzcategui is seen after his defeat in their fight on Saturday

Uzcategui was taken to the trauma center at MedSTAR Washington Hospital in Washington DC for evaluation, according to ESPN. He was released a few hours later.

Local police are seeking Lawson for questioning on counts of first and second-degree assault.


First-degree assault takes place when someone causes or attempts to cause ‘serious physical injury’ to another. In Maryland, first degree assault is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of up to 25 years.

Second-degree assault is less severe, and is considered a misdemeanour rather than a felony.

It is considered to have taken place when someone causes or attempts to cause ‘offensive physical contact’ to another.  It carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $2,500.

First-degree assault comes with a maximum possible prison sentence of 25 years.

‘I’m sorry for what my coach has done,’ Dirrell said. ‘My coach is my family, my uncle, and he was worried. He cares for me. He loves me. Please forgive him.

‘I’m going to stand up like a man. I didn’t win like I wanted to, but I’ll be back. I’m going to come back as soon as they let me.’

Dirrell won Saturday night’s fight after Uzcategui was twice adjudged to have hit him after the bell.

He went down face first and was ruled unable to continue, with his Venezuelan opponent disqualified.

‘I felt very good. I was hurting him the entire fight. I felt like I could hurt him anytime I wanted. Nothing he hit me with hurt me,’ Uzcategui said.

Uzcategui reels from the punch thrown by the member of the 'Team Dirrell' entourage

The Venezuelan super middleweight appeared to be shocked after being hit following the fight

Lawson followed up his first punch with another with his right as others intervened

Uzcategui was repeatedly hit in a post-fight brawl after he had been disqualified in the bout

Dirrell is pictured prior to a fight against British boxer James DeGale in Boston in 2015

DeGale inflicted one of only two career defeats on Dirrell in the meeting two years ago


Fights: 28

Wins: 26 (16 by knockout)

Defeats: 2

‘I was throwing a three-punch combination and I didn’t hear the bell. I didn’t mean to hit him. The third punch wasn’t that hard of a punch. I was surprised he stayed down.’

Referee Bill Clancy said he had earlier warned the Venezuelan about late punches.

‘The bell rang to stop the round. The round was over and Andre was knocked out with an illegal punch,’ Clancy announced.

‘So therefore, Dirrell will win this fight by disqualification. That’s a blatant foul. Earlier in the fight, I had warned Uzcategui. Dirrell wins the fight, he was clearly unable to continue.’

‘All I remember was him (Uzcategui) throwing a shot at me at the same time the bell rang,’ Dirrell said.

‘After that everything was blurry. I remember a shot and then all went fuzzy.’

Dirrell represented the United States at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 and won bronze

Dirrell – a bronze medalist at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 – now becomes a mandatory challenger to IBF world champion James DeGale.

Dirrell’s co-headliner Gary Russell Jr, who beat Oscar Escandon to defend the WBC featherweight title, also apologised.

‘I want to apologize for the gladiators,’ Russell said. ‘The Dirrell camp, sometimes emotions build up and take the best of us. Please forgive them.’

Interestingly, Saturday was not the first time that Dirrell had claimed victory by disqualification.

In 2010, he emerged successfully from his bout with Arthur Abraham in Detroit after his opponent hit Dirrell after he had slipped to the canvas in round 11.

‘He did the same thing against Abraham that he did against me tonight,’ Uzcategui said.

Uzcategui is pictured during his second-round win over Julius Jackson in 2015

‘He quit against me and he quit against him. I deserve to be the winner.’

The 33-year-old Dirrell’s 28-fight professional career has only featured two defeats – both at the hands of British boxers.

After 18 straight wins following his 2005 debut, he lost by split decision to Carl Froch in a WBC super-middleweight title fight, having been deducted one point in the 10th round for excessive holding.

Six years later, in 2015, he was beaten by unanimous decision by DeGale when the pair clashed for the vacant IBF super-middleweight title in Boston.

He was trailing 77-75 and 77-74 on two of the judges’ scorecards at the time of Uzcategui’s disqualification on Saturday, with the third card level at 76-76.

Dirrell is pictured during a workout session at The Ring Boxing Club in Boston in 2015

SOURCE: dailymail.co.uk

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