A REFEREE plays a crucial role in every boxing fight. They could become a game changer, depending on how competent their decisions are. And in Johnriel Casimero’s case, American referee Larry Doggett’s bad decisions cost the 25-year-old a world title.

Casimero lost by decision to International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng last Saturday night at the Hua Mark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand with the help of Doggett’s calls or lack thereof.

Doggett allowed the 35-year-old Ruenroeng’s constant clinching, headlocks and takedowns, and the fight looked more like a wrestling rather a boxing match.

Doggett gave Ruenroeng warning for his actions but only took a point away from him late in the bout, in the 11th round.

Doggett also called two knockdowns on Casimero in the second and seventh rounds and ruled what should have been a knockdown on Ruenroeng a slip.

“Knockdowns that didn’t even hit me. It was a wrong decision by the referee,” Casimero told Sun.Star Cebu. “Yes (both were slips). Those were pushes.”

With the loss, Casimero dropped down to 21-3 with 13 knockouts, while elusive Ruenroeng remained unbeaten at 16-0 with five knockouts.

Ruenroeng unleashed every dirty tactic in his book in a very ugly fight.

Casimero wants another crack at Ruenroeng but he never wants to fight him in Thailand.

“He’s a very dirty fighter,” said Casimero. “Yes (I want a rematch) and if ever there is, I don’t want it to be here in Thailand.”

On the other hand, Filipino former world title contender Denver Cuello (35-5-6, 24 KOs) stopped tomato can Boy Tanto (9-17, 1 KO) in the fifth round in one fo the fights in the undercard.