The California State Athletic Commission, which met Monday in San Diego, lifted a suspension on a boxer who had been barred from fights in California since forcing a kiss on a television reporter during an interview earlier this year.
Kubrat Pulev was suspended in March after kissing reporter Jenny Ravalo on live television following a fight in Costa Mesa.
The 38-year-old Bulgarian heavyweight has since complied with suspension conditions that included undergoing sexual harassment prevention training and paying a $2,500 fine, the maximum fine the commission may levy.
The commission reinstated Pulev’s license with the caveat that another violation could result in a lifetime suspension.
Though Pulev brought an English-language interpreter to the meeting, CSAC commissioners asked him to speak on his own regarding what occurred and what he learned.
“I’m very sorry for this kiss,” Pulev said. “And I must to say to Mrs. Ravalo, please, excuse me and sorry for the kiss, because it was my mistake, 100 percent.”
Pulev said that through the classes, he “learned he must have more respect with women.” He added that during the interview with Ravalo, he was “too emotion(al)” following his victory over Bodgan Dinu and had wanted to “share my win.”
Attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing Ravalo, thanked the commissioners for disciplining Pulev, but criticized their lack of sanctions toward boxing promoter Bob Arum, who said in a videotaped interview last month that he did not consider the kiss to be sexual harassment.
“I know what sexual harassment is — I really do — but that wasn’t sexual harassment,” Arum said in the interview. “I’m very sympathetic to sexual harassment charges, if it’s real sexual harassment, not bullsh–.”
Arum also said Ravalo was attending the fight as Pulev’s “semi- girlfriend,” which Ravalo denied.
Arum, who is also licensed by the CSAC, did not attend Monday’s meeting.
In a statement released shortly after the incident, Pulev claimed that he and Ravalo were friends and that after the kiss, “We both laughed about it and thanked each other. There really is nothing more to this.”
Ravalo denied that they had any previous friendship, telling the commission and reporters Monday that she had only met Pulev at a weigh-in that occurred the day before the kiss.
Ravalo, who writes for Vegas Sports Daily, said the incident and subsequent fallout has adversely affected her career. She said Arum’s boxing promotion company, Top Rank, won’t let her cover its events and some boxers have since been standoffish about providing interviews with her.
Allred said there were no plans for a lawsuit, but urged future disciplinary action against Arum, who attended the sexual harassment classes with Pulev.
“Where’s the evidence that (Arum) benefited from the class?” Allred said. “I think the best evidence of Mr. Arum’s feelings are what he says on that video.”
Allred said Arum has not apologized for his statements. She also called Pulev’s apology “lip service,” saying he only apologized to Ravalo in front of the commission in order to get his license reinstated.