Sanny Dahlbeck

Yokkao 19 & 20 – Ben Hodge denied title shot against Jordan Watson by 0.3kg

Tensions escalated yesterday between Ben Hodge and Jordan Watson when Hodge failed to attend both the Yokkao 19 & 20 weigh-ins (and press conference) at the Bolton Macron stadium. Watson is the defending 70kg Yokkao world champion, having recaptured the title from Sanny Dahlbeck at Yokkao 18. Hodge was set to challenge Watson for the title later today at Yokkao 20.

However, Hodge not only failed to attend the weigh-ins in a timely manner yesterday. He’d also missed the two hour time extension he was given by officials to weigh-in at 70kg which, was after all of the other fighters had attended, weighed-in and left.

The reason given at the time by Ben Hodge’s coach, John Jarvis, was that Ben was still in the sauna with 0.3kg remaining to lose and was very focused on cutting the remaining weight before weighing-in later (than everyone else), at the agreed 70kg. Apparently, this had been discussed during the two hour extension period with the Yokkao officials, so as to ensure that Hodge would still have his opportunity to fight for the title and weigh-in a lot later (after the extension) that evening, without putting his health and well-being at any further / potential risk from such a challenging weight cut.

However, after the two hour time extension had passed, the Yokkao officials had decided that the main event between Watson and Hodge would no longer be for the Yokkao 70kg world championship.

Instead, the Watson vs Hodge fight will continue to headline Yokkao 20 but as a non-title fight.

Obviously, the decision made by the officials was not received well by Hodge who, according to his coach, was deeply angered at being denied his title shot. Especially when it was revealed that the officials had reportedly made their decision after Watson’s team had complained that even with a two hour extension, Hodge had not weighed-in at exactly 70kg which, was a strict condition to be adhered-to, for the title to be defended.

Below, Liam Harrison and Jordan Watson talk about their fights against Fabio Pinca and Ben Hodge at the Yokkao 19 & 20 weigh-ins: