By Tim Lueckenhoff
ABC BACKGROUND: I am proud to be a member and current President of the United States Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC). This group was formed over fifteen years ago when a small group of executive directors of boxing commissions and commission members themselves decided to get together to just talk about how they handled boxing in their jurisdictions. Eventually, the original small group developed into each state commission, as well as four Indian boxing commissions becoming members of the ABC. Furthermore, some of the Canadian Boxing Commission provinces are associate members. The ABC official website is www.abcboxing.com. On that site you are able to locate phone numbers and addresses for each commission. In the future we are hoping to add a Medical Data Bank.
The ABC has made a commitment to attempt to standardize many requirements to obtain a boxing license. While change is slow, more and more commissions recognize the need to move forward. One of the greatest hurdles the ABC crossed was the formation of a National Suspension List. This was initially developed and maintained by the Florida Boxing Commission. Eventually, this program was turned over to Fightfax, Inc. Anyone around the world having Internet access can see the list of boxers who are currently on medical and disciplinary suspension or revocation in the United States. This free service is updated three times per week.
One other major problem in boxing was boxers using false names. Thanks to Senator John McCain, the Professional Boxing Safety Act was passed in 1996. Each boxer must be issued a federal ID card from his or her home state boxing commission by producing picture identification. This legislation has essentially stopped boxers from using false names and perhaps even fighting while on suspension.
THE REGULATION OF BOXING
Obviously, commissions were created to protect the health, safety, and welfare of boxers through licensing and regulation of the sport. Commissions were also created to regulate the sport to insure fair and impartial judgment is used when assigning officials to work events and when disciplining licensees for violations of the law.
More importantly, the ABC under the direction of Greg Sirb, former ABC President, and the National Association of Attorney General’s “Boxing Task Force” developed the Boxers’ Bill of Rights. Every boxer must know and understand they have certain rights.
THE PROFESSIONAL BOXERS’ “BILL OF RIGHTS”
1. You have the right to be treated in a professional manner and to be informed about all aspects of your sport.
2. You have the right to have all terms of any contract with a promoter or manager in writing.
3. You have the right to have all contracts read and explained to you, either by the local commission representative or anyone of your choosing (including an attorney).
4. Before any bout you have a right to know your opponent’s name, their record, the weight class of the bout, and the amount of your purse, including any travel or training expenses. To check on any boxer’s record, including your own, contact Fightfax at 856-638-0505.
5. You have right to review, obtain, and keep copies of any of your contracts.
6. You have a right to directly receive any and all payments from a bout as set forth in your bout agreement.
7. You have the right to receive a written post-bout accounting from the promoter, your manager, or both, which shows how the total amount of your purse was distributed. If you have any deductions taken from your purse, you have the right to ask for a written accounting of what these deductions were, and why they were deducted from your purse.
8. You have a right to have a doctor at ringside at all times as well as emergency medical personnel and/or an ambulance present at the bout location at all times.
9. You have a right to have medical insurance to cover any injuries resulting from a bout and to know the name of the insurance company and the amount of coverage that is provided.
10. You have the right to hire individuals of your choice to serve as your managers, trainers, or seconds. You are not required to hire any individual in order to obtain a bout.
11. You have a right to know why your ranking with any sanctioning body has changed and the reasons for this change. This may be done in writing to the organization. The organization must respond to you, in writing, within 7 days.
12. You have a right to appeal any and all suspensions and to be informed as to why you were suspended and the length of your suspension.
13. You have the right to contact your local commission or the Association of Boxing Commissions to report any violations, ask any questions or seek any advice.
*******You as a boxer should get a copy of and read the two federal boxing bills that detail many of your rights and responsibilities as a professional boxer. These two bills are:
The Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996
The Mohammed Ali Act of 2000
ABC ANNUAL CONFERENCE
The ABC will be holding it’s annual meeting July 31-August 3, 2002, at the Miccosukee Resort and Gaming Hotel in Miami, Florida. The first ABC sponsored officials training seminar will be August 3rd. Commissions with very little activity will now have the ability to obtain the same training as more active commissions. Training manuals and tapes will be available to each commission following the event to assist them in training their officials. Other topics to be discussed include: regulation of boxing in non-commissioned states and Indian Reservations, protocol for medical denial of licensure, discussion of uniform championship rules, and the medical committee update.
Please visit the ABC website mentioned above, and provide any feedback/comments.
In addition to being President of the Association of Boxing Commissions, Tim Lueckenhoff is Administrator for the Missouri Office of Athletics.