PART FOUR: 20 AND 0
A career of lies
Remember Bruce Glozier’s suspicions about Rohit Singh’s glowing record from Fiji? If his New Zealand fights were so suspect, it seemed logical his Fijian ones would be too. How far back did the con go?
Boxers are always introduced not just by name, but by their statistics: 7 (5) -1-1 after a boxer’s name would mean they had won seven fights, five of them by knock-out, drawn one and lost one. That record is meticulously kept by a volunteer corps of boxing enthusiasts on an online database called BoxRec, a website depended upon by almost everyone in boxing, from journalists to matchmakers, promoters and fellow fighters, to give them an accurate picture of every boxer on the planet.
A boxer’s numbers should, logically, only go up. But over the years, Singh’s have gone up, and down. And the fight record proudly displayed on his own website of 20-0 is very different to the one lodged on BoxRec of 9-0.
Ben Watt, the New Zealand editor of BoxRec, knows why Singh’s record changed and refers inquiries for the full story to Anton Sevsek, a veteran BoxRec compiler based in Australia.
It seems that amongst his extensive Fijian victories, Rohit Singh had also at some stage claimed two knockout victories on the Gold Coast. This was overweening self-confidence: while Fijian boxing was poorly-documented, Australian boxing was not.
When his record was submitted on a Fiji Boxing and Wrestling letterhead to BoxRec for ratification and insertion in its database, it arrived in Sevsek’s inbox. He had been at the two Australian cards where Singh had claimed victories. But Sevsek had never heard of nor seen Singh. “So I ripped up his supposed record (mostly KO wins) because I simply wasn’t prepared to put my name to it,” says Sevsek.
Sevsek had kept the site’s Fijian records updated as best he could between 2006 and 2014 by following boxing reports in the Fiji Sun and the Fiji Times - a process he says was difficult and frustrating, as they sometimes contradicted each other. But he never saw Rohit Singh mentioned in either.
Another editor subsequently added Singh’s record, and a third then deleted it, presumably sharing Sevsek’s concerns. Although he had no hand in either decision, Sevsek says he copped a barrage of emails from Singh, “telling me God will punish me for ruining his boxing career and source of income, even though I initially explained it wasn’t me. Eventually, I banned his mail.”
Sevsek says Australian National Boxing Federation official John Hogg can confirm his story. Hogg says he has been at every professional boxing card hosted in south-east Queensland since March 1966 and “can guarantee” Singh wasn’t on any of them. “Boxing in Queensland is well-documented,” he says. “There is no way results could be missed.”
While those Australian bouts have disappeared from Singh’s own website, helpfully it still lists his 11-0 record from Fiji. And after some careful study, patterns began to emerge.
For example, on April 29, 2006, he claimed to have fought a debutant named Mosese Kawika at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoga, for the vacant national heavyweight title, and, of course, won by KO.
BoxRec shows there was indeed a card at Lawaqa Park on that date, and fighting on it was the actual Fijian heavyweight champion, a man named Mosese Kavika (note the subtly different spelling), who fought and knocked out a boxer called Jay Tuku.
“I saw the letter he got out of the [Fiji Boxing and Wrestling] association saying he had fought this many people and he had fought ... Mosese Kavika, who was the heavyweight champion of Fiji,” says Farmaan Ali. “For a decade there, nobody could beat Mosese. That was suspicious, how can he say that?”
Farmaan is adamant Singh’s fights never happened. He might, he says, have had a couple of bouts. But he was ringside for a lot of pro cards and never saw Rohit appear on any of them.
Ali says records back then were poorly-kept and boxing was split over several different sanctioning bodies, unlike now, where there is a single government-approved commission.
“I never saw that guy in the ring from 1998, I never saw him. He persuaded the association president to draw up a letter to say he fought some boxers, but those fights never happened.”
Singh’s record says on December 4, 2004, he had a knockout win at Churchill Park in Lautoka. And indeed, BoxRec has a record of a pro card at that venue on that day - but no mention of Singh.
Similarly, on May 22, 2004, Singh reckoned he was boxing at Prince Charles Park in Nadi; there were nine fights on the day there but none, according to BoxRec, involved him.
The president of the Fiji Boxing Commission, Bulatani Matai, is shocked to hear Iobe Ledua took a dive (as outlined in part three of this story). He’s been in the job a year, and says: “What I am finding out is the outside of the boxing ring is tougher than inside the ring.” He confirms that historic records are a mess, and “really need to be cleaned up” and says he has never heard of Rohit Singh. He’s asked around those who’ve been around longer, and they don’t know who he is. But he’s looked at his record, and says he’s got a good up and coming heavy in Fiji who would love to fight him.
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