The boxing chiefs in California suspended Bulgarian heavyweight boxer Kubrat Pulev’s license for “forcibly” kissing a female reporter on the lips during an interview. Footage emerged earlier this week in which Pulev was seen grabbing hold of Vegas Sports Daily‘s Jennifer Ravalo and planting a kiss on her lips when she asked him about fighting Tyson Fury.
The boxer was also ordered to appear in front of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), who said that they are taking this incident seriously.
“Before he will be licensed to fight in California again, boxer Kubrat Pulev must appear in front of the commission and demonstrate that he will conform to this principle of respect,” CSAC said.
After the backlash, the 37-year-old boxer claimed that he was friends with the reporter, but Ravalo insisted that the two had met just a day earlier.
“Jenny is actually a friend of mine, and after the interview, I was so elated, I gave her a kiss. Later that night, she joined me and my other friends at my post-fight celebration. On the video, after our kiss, we both laughed about it and thanked each other. There really is nothing more to this,” Pulev said in a statement on Twitter.
For the most commented kiss in the world! pic.twitter.com/T1Ktlprff4
— Kubrat Pulev (@KubratPulev) 26 March 2019
In response, Ravalo, who works under the name Jenny SuShe, said that she was invited to the party where “there was an opportunity to interview more fighters”. She added that Pulev joined late in the night and then asked her to remove the kiss from the interview.
“I did not remove it and instead posted it because I wanted people to see what he had done to me. I wanted him to be accountable,” she said, in a statement read out at a press conference.
Speaking about the incident, Ravalo said that the boxer’s actions left her feeling “humiliated”. “Mid-interview he grabbed my face and kissed me. I was immediately shocked and embarrassed and didn’t know how to respond. Next, I walked to the table to put my items in my backpack. He grabbed both of my buttocks and squeezed with both of his hands. Then he walked away without saying anything to me and laughed,” she said.
“It made me feel uncomfortable and frustrated that Kubrat Pulev would treat me in such an unprofessional manner. I did not encourage or consent to Mr Pulev grabbing my face, kissing me, or grabbing my backside. I was there at the event covering the boxing match as a professional member of the press. Kissing a woman on her lips without her consent and grabbing her is not acceptable. No woman should be treated this way,” she added.