Melissa St. Vil : “The Referee Should Have Done His Part”
By Phil Woolever
Melissa St. Vil’s journey to Finland might not have been a complete success, but it definitely wasn’t a failure either.
St. Vil dropped a disputable majority decision to WBC Jr. Featherweight champion Eva Wahlstrom, but put up an excellent effort against the undefeated titlist in a spirited contest.
While Wahlstrom proved she deserves her respected pound-for-pound
ranking status, St. Vil proved she isn’t far behind.
The rousing rumble was not without controversy and quite worthy of a rematch.
“I saw the fight close,” said St. Vil. “When I knocked her down I should have gotten credit.”
There was no bitterness in St. Sil’s observation or attitude.
“I don’t have anything bad to say about Eva Wahlstrom,” clarified St. Vil. “She’s a good fighter. It was a real good fight.”
After falling behind early St Vil mounted a spirited comeback. That’s when the controversy occurred during round 7, in the form of a possible missed call by referee Freddy Rafn.
More than a few observers concluded that St. Vil was deprived of crucial points. Replays available to this reporter at press time were inconclusive.
St Vil was definitely throwing punches. Wahlstrom definitely hit the canvas.
“Just look at the video,” said St Vil, referring to a clip making the rounds on social media. “You can rewind it again and again, but you’ll see the same thing. The video doesn’t lie.”
“I agree the fight was close, but the referee should have done his part. He definitely should have called it a knockdown.”
“If it was me, he would’ve given me a count. But I didn’t let it distract me, and it didn’t change anything about how I was fighting. I kept my head in the game.”
“I’m still wondering if it’s worth it to worry about whether I slipped or not,” said Wahlstrom when contacted afterward. “It wouldn’t have changed the winner because it happened in a round I lost anyway, and I’d rather focus on what a good fighter Melissa is and what a good fight we had.”
It would be a shame if controversy detracted from one of the very best bouts of 2018. Maybe another ten rounds is the best way to settle the matter. Wahlstrom says she’d be glad to do it again.
There were no sour grapes from St. Vil when she spoke with ThePrizefighters.com. She represented herself and her countries (US/Haiti) with class while abroad, had no other complaints about how Rafn handled the fight, and made no allegations about any ‘home cooking’ in the result.
“I’m down for a rematch,” said St Vil after returning home. “But I’d rather fight on neutral ground. It was her promotion and everybody there knew her.”
“I liked Finland. They treated us good, and the food was good. But if we fight again, it should be somewhere else.”
If there is a part two for Wahlstrom-St. Vil, financial realities will probably help decide the ladies’ locale.
St Vil arrived in Helsinki ready for action and contributed to building the event in the public eye. She was featured in a variety of lighthearted pre-fight modes and entertained the local press with an acrobatic dancing routine.
It seems certain she’d be welcomed back warmly, and drama from the initial encounter would probably increase ticket demand for a bigger venue and gate.
Whether the location changes or not, you can count on another fine fight.
But it’s almost certain you won’t see the same referee.