The California State Athletic Commission on Tuesday ordered former heavyweight title challenger Kubrat Pulev to undergo sexual harassment prevention training in order to lift his state-imposed suspension for kissing a female reporter following Pulev’s March victory in Costa Mesa.
Bulgaria’s Pulev (27-1, 14 knockouts) must participate in state-approved training by the time of the next commission meeting, July 22 in San Diego. He’ll also be obligated to pay a $2,500 fine, the maximum that could be imposed by the state.
“I would like this to be a teachable moment rather than take away a fighter’s ability to make a living,” said CSAC Commissioner Martha Shen-Urquidez, who presided over the follow-up investigation of Pulev’s post-fight kiss of reporter Jenny Ravalo, a contributor to Vegas Sports Daily, a sports and entertainment website.
Pulev and his promoter, Bob Arum, are hopeful to be in position later this year to pursue a title shot at three-belt champion Anthony Joshua.
Arum and a spokesman for his company, Top Rank, did not immediately respond to messages left by The Times.
“It was a fair hearing, and we’ll be at the next hearing,” Ravalo attorney Gloria Allred told The Times.
The CSAC slapped Pulev with an immediate suspension following the March 23 incident with Ravalo, who was concluding the interview when Pulev, after defeating Bogdan Dinu by seventh-round technical knockout, kissed her on the lips.
“This was sexual harassment. She did not consent to that kiss,” Allred said.
The commission questioned Ravalo about the extent of a past connection with Pulev, and she reported she had met him only one day earlier at his weigh-in. Allred said Pulev mentioned Ravalo had flirted with him, and also sought to blame his behavior on the euphoria he was experiencing after an important victory, while his team referenced cultural differences, Allred said.
“Does that mean he can kiss another woman the next time he’s euphoric?” Allred asked. “[Pulev] also apologized at the hearing. He didn’t apologize before the hearing, and he knew where to contact her … We know that because he contacted her online and threatened to publish other videos of her, which he did of her dancing” at a post-fight party.
“That [dancing video] was all irrelevant [to the deputy attorney general handling the case] and my client didn’t feel he made a real apology. He was sorry — for getting caught.”
Allred said Ravalo has been subjected to intense cyber-bullying as a result of the kiss, delivered by the heavily sweating and bleeding Pulev.
“He’s been trying to present himself as the victim,” Allred said. “She’s the victim. We have laws in California, and that type of behavior is not tolerated.”
Pulev was warned that if he satisfies the conditions following this incident and has his boxing license reinstated, he will be subject to a lifetime suspension if he’s involved in any other similar incidents, including any direct or indirect retaliation or threats.
Allred said Ravalo has not sued Pulev for behavior she describes as “battery and assault” and “victim shaming,” nor has Ravalo filed a police complaint.