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Saturday, January 28, 2023

More Information on Cohen-Bradley Cancellation

The Stefi Cohen-Kedra Bradley fight, scheduled for last night in Montebello, California, was cancelled a short while before the fight was set to begin. Both fighters claim a large difference in weight on the day of the fight was the cause for the cancellation. Both Cohen and Bradley say their hands had been wrapped when they heard the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) had cancelled the bout. Both boxers are frustrated.

Cohen and Bradley both made the 118-pound bantamweight limit during Thursday's weigh-in. Bradley claims Cohen weighed 131 pounds during the day-of weigh-in. CSAC automatically cancels any bout in which a fighter is 15% above the contracted weight on the day of the fight. For bantamweights, a fighter would need to weigh 17.7 pounds more than the limit or 135.7 pounds. Even by Bradley's number, Cohen's weight-gain was within rules.

If Bradley's claim is correct, Cohen put on 13 pounds overnight which is within a normal range for bantamweights, albeit on the higher side of that range. Boxing is so decentralized that there is no sport-wide regulation for weigh-ins. California typically has a day-before weigh-in and then re-weighs the fighters the day of the fight. This is to prevent dramatic weight-cuts and mismatches based on weight differences.

Both fighters claim Bradley lost weight overnight. Cohen says Bradley weighed 109, or five pounds lighter than at Thursday's weigh-in. Bradley says she dropped to 110.8 pounds after losing 3.5 pounds. Dropping weight isn't against the rules or a breach of conduct, but it doesn't make much sense. Fighters lose weight for the weigh-in and then put on weight to give them the best chance to win.

A fighter losing weight after the weigh-in is highly unusual and can be a cause for concern. There's a reason for different weight classes: more weight is viewed as an advantage in boxing. So losing weight after the weigh-in can be an indication of a potentially dangerous issue.

Ultimately, the 20.2 pound difference, or 18% of Bradley's bodyweight, was reason enough to nix the fight. That a fighter was four pounds under the limit and then lost three and half more pounds, should be viewed as a red flag and cause to cancel the fight regardless of the opponent's weight gain.

Cohen announced that she is now scheduled to fight on February 23.

Update: CSAC's explanation of the cancellation with the fighter's official event-day weights.

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