A Bulgarian boxer who grabbed a female broadcaster and kissed her on the lips during a post-fight interview has been suspended until July, after tearful testimony by the interviewer.
During a California State Athletic Commission hearing on Wednesday (NZT), Kubrat Pulev, a heavyweight contender known as 'The Cobra', was also ordered to attend sexual harassment prevention classes and pay a US$2500 (NZ$3800) fine before he could fight again in the state of California.
Pulev, who has only one loss in 27 fights, grabbed Jennifer Ravalo's face and kissed her in a live interview, moments after knocking out Romania's Bogdan Dinu in the seventh round of a March fight at Costa Mesa, California.
One of Bulgaria's most popular sportsmen, Pulev apologised for his actions during the hearing, as his girlfriend - Bulgarian pop star Andrea - sat behind him wearing dark glasses.
Attorneys for Pulev said the fighter had got caught up in the moment, after his big win and "didn't have his wits about him" when he kissed the reporter.
Pulev and his lawyers argued in the hearing that Ravalo did not appear to be very upset about the incident, because she joined the boxer and his team at a post-match celebration later that night.
But in tearful testimony, Ravalo said Pulev also grabbed her buttocks off-camera after the interview, leaving her feeling humiliated, and had not apologised in the two months since.
"I did not want him to kiss me," Ravalo said.