The boxer who kissed a reporter without her consent during a post-match interview won’t be able to box again until at least July – and then, only if he pays a $2,500 fine and seeks sexual harassment counseling, the California State Athletic Commission has ruled.
The decision, made at the commission’s Tuesday meeting in Los Angeles, was the result of a 6-0 vote.
“CSAC has demonstrated that it will not stand for the denigration of women in the sports community,” Andy Foster, the commission’s executive director, said in a statement.
Kubrat Pulev must complete a commission-approved sexual harassment prevention class and another program offered by the Association of Women in Sports Media, or a similar program, Foster said.
“Once complete, Mr. Pulev can come before the Commission in July to demonstrate that he can conform to principles of respect,” he said.
The $2,500 fine is the maximum allowed by the state, the commission said.
Pulev’s license has been suspended since March 26. Two days earlier, he kissed Jenny Sushe following a victorious fight against Bogdan Dinu in Costa Mesa. Sushe, a reporter for Las Vegas Sports Daily, has also accused of Pulev of squeezing her buttocks and laughing as he left the interview.
The Bulgarian pugilist’s license will remain suspended until July 22, when he will appear before the commission in San Diego.
If he has not met the requirements put forth by the commission, his license could be suspended until March 2020 and he would be required to reapply for the license annually, commission spokesman Matt Woodcheke said.
If he engages in similar behavior again, he could be suspended for life, Woodcheke said.
Gloria Allred, who represents Sushe, applauded the decision but said her client would have preferred a longer suspension.
“This action sends an important message to him and to other boxers that the California Athletic Commission will take quick action to suspend boxers who sexually harass members of the public in California and that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in our state,” Allred said in a statement.
CNN could not immediately reach Pulev’s attorney for comment. Pulev’s promoter, Top Rank, and attorney John Wirt have previously declined to comment on the case.
Pulev said in a statement posted to Twitter that he and Sushe are friends, and that they laughed off the kiss. Sushe joined him and his friends at a victory party that evening, he said.
“There really is nothing more to this,” he said in the statement.
Sushe disputed that claim, saying she and Pulev are not friends, and they had met only the day before the fight, for a pre-fight interview. She attended the victory party for professional reasons, she said, and at the party, she declined his request to remove the kiss from her interview footage because she wanted him held accountable.
“I did not encourage or consent to Mr. Pulev grabbing my face, kissing me, or grabbing my backside,” Sushe said Thursday, reading from a prepared statement. “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.”
CNN’s Dakin Andone contributed to this report.