The man first identifed as Mustafa Ameen [pictured above, at far right] by RingTV.com has confirmed himself to be the “Mystery Man” whose ringside presence has ignited controversy surrounding last month’s victory by newly-crowned IBF/WBA junior welterweight beltholder Lamont Peterson over Amir Khan.
In an exclusive, personal message to RingTV.com’s Ryan Songalia on Sunday, Ameen said that he expected to address his actions during a discussion with officials representing Golden Boy Promotions, Khan’s promoter, on Jan. 18 in New Jersey.
“I will appear at the Golden Boy/Amir Khan appeal hearing next week and don’t want to publicly discuss the matter until after,” wrote Ameen.
“I look forward to answering the false allegations that I interfered with the WBA Supervisor, and somehow tainted the scorecards.”
According to the London Telegraph, an official with the IBF confirmed that Ameen has been affiliated with that organization, and has demanded that he attend its hearing to explain his actions, which include picking up what appears to be a yellow scoring slip near a WBA ringside scoring official.
“I will appear at a appeal hearing next week to answer the false allegations. I [can not] discuss anything else about me, and being a ‘mystery man,'” Ameen wrote to RingTV.com from his facebook page. “I’ve been around boxing for 30 years, and my reputation is unblemished.”
The IBF could release an official statement regarding Ameen’s association as early as Monday.
“It is something we will address at the hearing,” said Jeanette Salazar, public relations director for the IBF. “Until then, the individual has been asked not to speak publicly or to the media.”
WBA President Gilberto Mendoza has called for an immediate rematch between Peterson and Khan after having studied images of Ameen caught on video. Khan has accused Ameen of interfering with the judges during his fight with Peterson on Dec. 10.
In the video, Ameen can be spotted wearing a dark blue hat as he appears to be distracting WBA supervisor Michael Welsh and other officials at ringside during the fight. It is primarily due to the man’s behavior at ringside that Mendoza has called for a return bout.
On his facebook, however, Ameen denies that he had any effect on the outcome of the fight.
“So you are questioning if I did something to harm my Muslim brother?” wrote Ameen of Khan, a practicing Muslim of Pakistani decent.
“May almighty Allah protect me from what you and the rest of you assert. Don’t make assumptions based on allegations.”
Organizations assign their own official scorers to bouts as backup references, and WBA representative Welsh scored it a draw, while the IBF’s rep Paul Artisst had it for Peterson. Peterson edged Khan, 113-112 on the cards of judges George Hill of New Jersey and Valerie Dorsett of North Carolina, and lost,115-110 on that of Nelson Vazquez of Puerto Rico.
Ameen was also addressed by Khan’s trainer, Freddie Roach, during an interview with the BBC Sport. Roach reiterated what a source had originally told RingTV.com — that the man is Ameen, who served as the business manager of former Olympic heavyweight hopeful Michael Hunter when Roach worked as an advisor to Team USA in September.
USA Boxing Executive Director Anthony Bartowski has released a statement distancing his organization from Ameen.
“As there has been a connection made to USA Boxing and the Olympic Training Center,” stated Bartowski. “I wanted to let you know [that] Mustafa Ameen does not hold any official position with USA Boxing and has never served in any official capacity with any USA Boxing event in the last year.”
Golden Boy Promotions CEO, Richard Schaefer, who handles Khan, said that Ameen claimed to be an IBF official, adding that he saw the indivfidual “in the ring after the fight celebrating with the Petersons.” In the BBC report, Ameen can be seen in the ring on the far left with Peterson.
But Roach cast doubt that the man is an IBF official, and there is nothing on the facebook of Ameen that identifies him as such.
Taking a different path…
“To be quite honest, there’s a formal hearing. Amir Khan and Golden Boy have requested a hearing to appeal the decision and I am going to participate in the hearing and I’m not going to take the path that others have taken and state my case on the internet and in the media. I think it’s important to let the facts be known and I don’t want anybody crafting a defense based on something that someone wrote on the internet on what I said happened. I will defer any explanation telling them, telling anybody else that’s an interested party at the official hearing.”
“I’ve got nothing to hide. I’m not running or ducking or anything. I can discuss, without talking about the merits of what happened, I will just say that there’s a lot of misinformation. I’ve been called a lot of names over the past several days and that attacks my credibility, attacks my reputation that I worked very hard on in all my years in boxing. I’ll tell you that that part is definitely something I’m going to defend prior to the hearing.”
“I’ll give you an example, if you’ve been following it, two days ago there was a mystery man involved. And then, twenty-four hours later the mystery man is Mustafa Ameen. I was identified. I’m telling you that there was a bunch of crap immediately that this unidentified man, who was me, nobody seemed to know who he was, yet twenty-four hours later, everybody in boxing, including the trainer of Amir Khan and everybody else said ‘I know him’. But they didn’t know me twenty-four hours prior.”
“There’s a lot of things that have been said, that have been put on the internet, which is why I’m going to refuse to fight my defense on the internet. It’s just unfair. I’m known in boxing circles, I’m not a secret. [It’s unfair] for them to slander me and undo all the things that I’ve worked hard for in terms of my reputation. I’m going to defer to the hearing and I’ve got nothing to hide. People know me through Michael Hunter and the IBF. I’m not a mystery man at all. That was a bunch of BS from the very beginning.”
Photos, courtesy Mustafa Ameen’s facebook page
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org