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David Selwyn:
One Candle

By Bernie McCoy
November 17, 2007
Photo: Olszewski


(NOV 17) David Selwyn is a New York boxing manager and, like the best of that breed, he keeps the interests of his fighters at the head of his "things to do" list. Selwyn is not, to the best of anyone's knowledge, a scholar of the Chinese language, but he recently invoked one of those revered proverbs from that centuries old list of directions for life: "It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."

On September 14, in Rovigo, Veneto, Italy, Selwyn watched as his fighter, Eileen Olszewski, fought to a ten round majority draw with Stefania Bianchini. As a result of the decision, Bianchini retained her WBC flyweight title while Selwyn nearly lost his voice complaining, from ringside, about the actions of the referee, Englishman, Mark Green. "His (Green) conduct was flagrant and even a layman (could) tell that he did nothing to enforce the rules of boxing, (there were) numerous fouls during the fight (against my fighter) without even a single warning."

Following the bout and on his way was back to his hotel, Selwyn, still distraught over the decision and fairly convinced that Olszewski was unlikely to be in line for a return bout in the foreseeable future, decided to file a protest with the WBC. It is at this point that David Selwyn departed from the usual "modus operandi" of those, in the boxing world, who have felt "jobbed" after traveling great distances to a foreign land to fight a "native" boxer and come away feeling at the " the short end" of an unlevel "playing field." All too often the post fight reaction to this type of "home cooking" includes returning home and complaining, loudly and vociferously, to all who will listen (and even some who are interested) about the "raw deal" experienced on the trip abroad. After a prescribed period of venting, accompanied by oaths about never returning to (fill in the European or Asian country), the subject is dropped, the loss recorded and the world of boxing returns to what passes for normalcy only in the world of boxing. David Selwyn didn't play along with "business as usual." David Selwyn reached for a match.

Selwyn requested a tape of the bout and after what he felt to be a suspiciously long delay, finally received a visual record of the fight from a reluctant local promoter. Selwyn then contacted the WBC, detailing, for that sanctioning body, his specific objections to the fight:

Round 2: B (Bianchini) was holding 10 times during the round. She was holding with one arm around the neck and hit with the free hand. No warnings (from the ref).

Round 4: B had her right hand constantly around O's (Olszewski) neck. Holding and hitting O to the back of her neck. B held....at least 8 times. Selwyn detailed each round listing the perceived fouls and infractions that he was sure were reinforced on the tape of the fight. His "case" ended with, "We know that the WBC will take this protest seriously and trust your actions in this matter." The protest was filed on September 27, just beating the fifteen day deadline, stipulated by the WBC.

In the business world, this is known as proactive action; in select New York neighborhoods, it's dubbed "walking the talk," action behind words; the Chinese, of course, refer to candles and darkness. For Selwyn and Olszewski, the darkness was lifted at the recent WBC convention. Selwyn gladly provided the details:  "Team Olszewski is happy to announce that they have won their official protest with the WBC. After the 9/14/07 WBC Flyweight title (bout) between Eileen Olszewski and champion Stefania Bianchini, David Selwyn, Olszeski's manager filed a protest asking for a rematch. Selwyn's claim was that referee Mark Green did not enforce the rules of boxing and let Bianchini constantly foul Olszewski by holding and rabbit punching throughout the fight. Today (November 15) at the WBC convention in Manila, Philippines, the WBC decided that Bianchini must fight her mandatory challenger, fellow countrywoman Simona Gelasi, and the winner must fight Olszewski."

David Selwyn saw what he thought was a wrong, a wrong done to his fighter and he went about righting that wrong. He went beyond complaining about a world of unfairness, he went beyond venting about the difficulty of competing in a boxing ring in a foreign country. David Selwyn did what managers are supposed to do, fight for their fighters even if it means playing with matches.

Bernie McCoy

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