Australian boxer Liam Wilson has accused his rival Emanuel Navarrete of cheating, claiming the scales used for their weigh-in were “tampered with” to allow his opponent to make weight for their world title fight.
Wilson (11-1) will take on Navarrete (36-1) in Arizona on Saturday (AEDT) for the WBO super featherweight title, but controversy exploded at an eyebrow-raising weigh-in.
The Queenslander weighed in at 126.3 pounds (57.4kg), well below the 130-pound super featherweight limit, while Navarrete tipped the scales at 129.2 pounds (58.7kg) to sneak under the limit.
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Wilson’s camp revealed he had weighed 129 pounds on the same scales just an hour before the weigh-in.
The 26-year-old looked far more shredded than Navarrete at the weigh-in and Wilson sensationally accused the Mexican of cheating so he could make weight.
“I believe they have realised he (Navarrete) hasn’t made weight and they have tampered with the scales,” Wilson said.
“I was shocked because I haven’t been that light in the last 10 years. I would have made featherweight if that was the correct weight.
“100 per cent they have done it.
“How can I lose four pounds in 20 minutes?
“I am a bit surprised (at his official weight) because I came in professionally, I came in ready.
“There is something wrong with the scales. I was underweight by four pounds. That’s not normal. I checked the scales 20 minutes before (official weigh-in) and I just made weight.
“So to come in and suddenly be four pounds under, something happened there.
“I believe he didn’t make weight and they have tampered with the scales.
“It’s unfortunate because this is a massive fight for me. I respect the sport and he should respect the sport.
“He knows what it takes to be a champion and he is not a champion weighing in like that.
“I’m not an official, but he shouldn’t be challenging for the title. Something happened on those scales.”
Adding to the intrigue, Wilson weighed in at a heavier 132.3 pounds an hour after the official weigh-in.
His promoter, No Limit’s Matt Rose, said there was no way Wilson could have lost so much weight in that time.
“Liam jumped on the scales an hour ago and weighed 129.5 (pounds),” the Aussie promoter said.
“Then he jumps on the scales for the official weigh in and he’s 126.
“So they’ve changed the scales or done something. You can’t lose that much weight within the hour sitting in a room.
“He wasn’t in a sauna.
“So we believe Liam’s come in at 129 and Navarrete is over.
“We’re asking questions but everyone is avoiding us.
“But we’ll keep asking questions until we get an answer from someone. There’s something going on.”
But legendary promoter Bob Arum, who is overseeing the title fight, said any talk of cheating and dodgy scales was “total bullsh*t”.
“Oh come on, this is Arizona, no-one f**** with the scales,” Arum said.
“It’s total bullsh*t.
“He (Navarrete) made the weight for Christ’s sake. Everyone else made weight and there weren’t any aberrations with the other fighters on the card.
“I hate all these conspiracy theories in boxing for whatever reason. But let me assure you, the scales were accurate.
“Nobody touched the scales before they (Wilson and Navarrete) were weighed in.
“It’s going to be a great fight. The Aussie is a talented fighter, but he has a handful in Navarrete who I believe is something special.”
Wilson is seeking to become Australia’s fifth current boxing world champion when he steps in the ring on Saturday. Coverage begins on Kayo Freebies from 10.30am (AEDT).
Watch Liam Wilson take his shot at the WBO super-featherweight title against Emanuel Navarrete Live and Free Feb 4 on Kayo Freebies. Join now and start streaming instantly >