SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgarian boxer Kubrat Pulev, known as The Cobra, has been ordered to appear before the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) to explain why he abruptly kissed a reporter on the lips following a post-fight interview on Saturday.
The 37-year-old heavyweight contender, who has only one loss in 27 fights, grabbed Jennifer Ravalo's face and kissed her on the lips after knocking out Romania’s Bogdan Dinu in the seventh round in Costa Mesa, California.
Ravalo said she would take legal action against Pulev over the incident.
"We take this incident seriously," CSAC Deputy Director of Communications Veronica Harms said.
"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."
Next CSAC hearing is scheduled for May 14 with Ravalo planning to attend.
"It made me feel uncomfortable and frustrated that Kubrat Pulev would treat me in such an unprofessional manner," Ravalo said. "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."
Pulev, one of Bulgaria's most popular sportsmen, has refused to apologize for kissing Ravalo.
"The reporter, Jenny, is actually a friend of mine, and after the interview, I was so elated I gave her a kiss," Pulev said. "Later that night, she joined me and my other friends at a post-fight celebration."
(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov, editing by Pritha Sarkar)