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21 NOVEMBER 2018


THE PROFESSIONAL BOXING REFEREE: You, the ringside physician and a cut boxer

By Armando Garcia

Referee-physician interaction usually means someone is in a bit of trouble. This is such a critical event that I had to include a segment on it in “The Professional Boxing Referee Manual”. The recent ruckus over the stoppage of the Lewis-Klitschko bout motivated me to elaborate a bit on the section and discuss another one in the manual that is titled “Cuts”.

During the process of Klitschko winning the fight up to the point of the stoppage, he suffered five separate cuts that took 60 stitches to close. Our prayers are that he recovers quickly so that we can see him back in action and we sincerely hope that none of those cuts will adversely affect his career.

The worst of Klitschko’s five cuts was the one on the brow, which was actually two cuts. One cut across and a sort of jagged one down. With this in mind:

Dealing with the cut boxer

I picked up a super handout on cuts at last year’s ABC seminar in Miami. It is excellent and I incorporated most of it in the “Cuts” section of the manual. I really wish someone could tell me who wrote that piece.

Item No. 4 in the “Serious Cuts” section mentions deep cuts above the eyebrow and how they could affect the boxer’s future ability to lift the eyebrow. It goes on to state that it could cause permanent disfigurement. One of the Klitschko cuts was in the eyebrow.

My take on the seriousness of the cut in question is not just its location and severity, but the detriment it had on Klitschko not being able to see other punches coming. Those punches could have had far worse consequences than ugly scarring.

As the cut situation developed in this fight, I took a close look at the referee-physician interaction.

In these situations, it is critical that once you as the referee get the physician involved, both must be in sync from then on. This responsibility rests on the referee.

In a similar hypothetical situation where a boxer suffers a cut and you feel it needs a closer look, you should call time out and motion to the physician. Take the boxer to the physician and remain there until the examination is complete. Keep the consultation as private as possible.

If the bout proceeds and the round ends, collect the scorecards quickly while calling to the physician to go re-check the boxer. Go to the corner and remain there until the physician finishes his or her evaluation. If the physician stays the full rest period, stay with him or her. If he or she leaves at some point, then go to your corner and await the beginning of the next round.

Give the boxer and his corner their full one-minute rest period. The physician can evaluate the boxer while this is going on. If the physician needs to check the boxer more closely, call time out at the end of the rest period and have him or her do so then. If you take this action, send the other boxer to a neutral corner.

The general idea is to keep close contact with the physician once you get him or her involved. You should strive to keep any conversation with the physician as private as possible. If at some point the physician recommends that the bout be stopped, you should confirm the reason for the stoppage so that there is no doubt or miscommunication. If you agree, you should then wave the bout off and immediately inform the bout official(s) of the specifics of the stoppage.

Teamwork leads to success!

What is your opinion?

Direct your comments to Armando Garcia at:



Armando Garcia is presently licensed as a Referee by the Florida State Boxing Commission, the Miccosukee Athletic Commission and the World Boxing Association (WBA). He is a former International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) Referee/Judge for the USA.

He has been involved in boxing for over 16 years and has refereed 21 world championship fights and judged 8 others since 1994. He regularly conducts international seminars for the WBA and has done so in the USA, Thailand, Spain, Nicaragua and Venezuela. He was recently selected as the WBA International Official of the Year.

He was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States in 1959.

He presently serves as Facilities Director for Perry Ellis International, a leader in the apparel industry, in Miami, Florida. He is also a former veteran police Detective in the South Florida area.



The ”The Professional Boxing Referee” columns are prepared by Armando Garcia in an effort to establish a criterion for dealing with numerous referee situations and as an attempt to interpret professional boxing rules in a simple manner. In the series, he will also be discussing various important issues related to professional boxing.

Although he has a vast boxing resume, the views, opinions, and/or recommendations contained in this series of columns reflect his own interpretation of referee rules and procedures and not necessarily those of the entities that license him.

Furthermore, since it is possible that general information herein may pertain only to a law, regulation, rule or MARGINAL standard of practice for a particular jurisdiction, a referee, boxer or his/her representatives must always inquire with the appropriate licensing jurisdiction to determine the applicable laws, regulations, rules, and MARGINAL standards of practice for each jurisdiction.

All readers are advised that the information herein is intended solely as a general reference source, and to the fullest extent permitted by law, the information is provided “AS IS” without any warranties of any kind, whether expressed or implied, including without limitation, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement. No one may rely on the accuracy, integrity, quality or completeness of the general information herein. Accordingly, neither the author nor anyone else affiliated with any website or press entity may be held liable for damages of any kind whatsoever allegedly caused or resulting from any such claimed reliance.

If anyone has any questions about this Disclaimer, Waiver of Rights and Indemnity, or any column, he or she should contact Armando Garcia at:

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