Kotelnik: Don't steal my title

The Sun15th July, 2009

ANDREAS KOTELNIK has pleaded with fight officials to give him a fair deal when he defends his WBA title against Amir Khan.

The Ukrainian insists he was robbed on two of the previous occasions he has fought in England and does not want a repeat when he climbs through the ropes at Manchester's MEN Arena on Saturday.

Kotelnik was handed a draw the first time he boxed for the WBA crown against Souleymane M'Baye in Liverpool in 2007, while Bradford's Junior Witter was given the win when they clashed in Nottingham four years ago.

Those results still hurt Kotelnik, who is convinced he was cheated by the ringside officials.

He said: "All I want to be is treated fairly by the judges, I'm coming here to England to defend my world title.

"I felt I was robbed against Witter and it was the same against M'Baye.

"Everybody in the hall in Liverpool, the Liverpool players like Steven Gerrard and the media, knew I was the winner against M'Baye.

"Everybody was astonished about the result. All of the judges were from Britain so maybe that's a bit of a funny story.

"Perhaps I was also blocked by the judges in the Witter fight in Nottingham."

None of the officials for Saturday's showdown are from the UK.

Denmark's Ove Ovesen, Jean-Francois Toupin from France and Spaniard Jose Manuel Garcia Reyes are the judges, while the ref is Stanley Christodoulou of South Africa.

Kotelnik, 31, is brimming with confidence and has branded Khan a big mouth without big-time fight experience.

He added: "Khan is the one going around yelling and saying things.

"But he is not a better fighter than Witter, not at all.

"Witter was the European champion and went on to be the WBC world champion. What is on Khan's list? Nothing, except for a big mouth."