CALIFORNIA boxing officials on Monday, July 22 lifted the suspension on Bulgarian heavyweight boxer Kubrat Pulev who kissed a Filipina American reporter on camera during a post-fight interview in March.
Pulev, who was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), had paid the maximum $2,500 fine and completed a sexual harassment course.
Through a unanimous vote, the Commission allowed Pulev to reapply for his license to fight again in California on the condition that any future offense would mean a lifetime ban on fights in North America.
The suspension came after Pulev grabbed Fil-Am Vegas Sports Daily reporter Jenny “SuShe” Ravalo’s face last March, and kissed her during an interview following his win in Costa Mesa, California.
Ravalo posted footage of the interview online and obtained high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred as her attorney. She added in a statement posted to Allred’s Facebook that Pulev again touched her inappropriately after the interview.
“I did not encourage, nor consent, to Mr. Pulev grabbing my face, kissing me, or grabbing my backside. I was there at the event covering the match as a professional member of the press,” said Ravalo at a news conference following her interview with Pulev.
Pulev responded to Ravalo’s accusations by saying that the two were friends and that he was so “elated” by his win that he gave her a kiss. His team further released their own video footage of Ravalo partying with his team after the fight.
Pulev apologized to Ravalo before the Commission’s vote on Monday, and said that the kiss was “100%” his mistake.
Of his sexual harassment training, he added, “I learned I should have more respect for woman. Not only me, but all people should know this.”
Ravalo told the Commission before the Monday meeting that she had been bullied online as a result of her speaking up, and even named Top Rank boxing promoter Bob Arum as being among those who dismissed her experience, reported the Associated Press.
In a videoed interview last month, Arum said of Ravalo’s accusations, “I know what sexual harassment is — I really do — but that wasn’t sexual harrasment.”
He added, “I’m very sympathetic to sexual harassment charges, if it’s real sexual harassment, not bullsh–.”
Arum also said that Ravalo was acting like Pulev’s “semi-girlfriend” before the fight, and was “fooling around” with Pulev while he was in training — statements that Ravalo denied.
In a letter to the CSAC before the Monday vote, Allred requested that the Commission sanction Arum for his statements and require Arum to attend the Monday meeting so that Ravalo could testify to the impact of Arum’s statements.
Arum, who attended sexual harassment classes with Pulev and is licensed by the CSAC, did not attend the Monday meeting.
“Where’s the evidence that [Arum] benefited from the class?” asked Allred, criticizing the Commission’s lack of discipline towards Arum. “I think the best evidence of Mr. Arum’s feelings are what he says on that video.”
According to the Associated Press, Pulev also agreed to participate in a video campaign being considered by the CSAC about sexual harassment. (Rae Ann Varona/AJPress)