Jeffrey Gildenhorn, chairman of the D.C. Boxing Commission, said yesterday that he needs more time to consider whether to fine and/or suspend heavyweights Riddick Bowe and Elijah Tillery and promoter Rock Newman after Wednesday night's brawl at the Washington Convention Center.
Meanwhile, Newman was wasting no time in seeking new fights for Bowe (27-0), holding separate meetings with TVKO representative Seth Abraham and promoter Don King, who was a ringside spectator to the bizarre affair that reportedly sparked a gun battle outside the arena.
Bowe, a top-ranked contender, was awarded a first-round knockout after Tillery, his former sparring partner, was disqualified. Referee Karl Milligan charged Tillery with "flagrantly kicking" Bowe when they continued to brawl after the bell had sounded.
In the melee, Newman applied a headlock to Tillery and yanked him over the ropes and into press row. By the time Tillery recovered, Milligan had disqualified him.
"It was obvious that Bowe threw the first punch after the bell," Gildenhorn said after reviewing a tape of the match on USA Network. "But Tillery was taunting him. What Tillery did in response to Bowe's slap was excessive, and I support Milligan in disqualifying him.
"I don't condone Newman's action, but he was apparently trying to defend his fighter. Boxing is a very emotional sport, but we have to be rational in executing fines and suspensions, and I don't think we'll reach a decision until [tomorrow]."
Newman again apologized for his part in the brawl and attributed it to the kicking by Tillery.
Newman, a former protege of Butch Lewis, said Abraham and King were well-aware that Bowe drew more than 7,000 spectators paying up to $100 to see a fight that was broadcast free on cable television. "They're both extremely eager to align themselves with Riddick," Newman said.
King had been trying to negotiate a January match between Bowe and Mike Tyson, whose rib injury forced the postponement of his Nov. 8 championship bout with Evander Holyfield in Las Vegas.