The CBZ Newswire

Assoc. of Boxing Commission Pres. to WBC: Selection of Ringside Officials ‘Sole Discretion’ of Boxing Commissions

by on Jul.14, 2009, under Boxing News

[Editor's note:  Tim Lueckenhoff, president of the Association of Boxing Commissions, sent this letter to the World Boxing Council's Mauricio Sulaiman supporting the presiding local boxing commission's legal rights -- versus those of sanctioning bodies and promotional interests -- regarding the selection of ringside officials.  It's pretty pointed!] 

Mr. Mauricio Sulaiman
World Boxing Council
Cuzco #872, COL Lindavista
Mexico, D. F. 07300

Dear Mr. Sulaiman:

 Reference is made to the Memorandum/Letter (WBC No.: 41256), dated July 8, 2009, from yourself to Promoters Don King and Gary Shaw regarding “Two WBC elimination fights in Florida.”  Among others, a copy of this Memorandum/Letter was sent to me, as the President of the Association of Boxing Commissions; and, considering its content, I am compelled to respond.

 Specifically, the letter notifies Promoters King and Shaw that: “[t]he Florida Boxing Commission has appointed all the ring officials, next July 11, disregarding and ignoring the WBC without having the courtesy of answering any of our communications or phone calls.” While, in the Memorandum/Letter, you advise Promoters King and Shaw that “the WBC will continue to sanction these 2 elimination bouts in order to support your co-promotion,” you also note that “the WBC reserves its rights, as the owner of the WBC Championship trademark and accolade [,] in case of any disputes on these fights in Florida.”

 As you, and the WBC, are well-aware, under the laws of the United States:

No person may arrange, promote, organize, produce, or fight in a professional boxing match unless the referees and judges participating in the match have been certified and approved by the boxing commission responsible for regulating the match in the State where the match is held.  15 USC §6307h. (emphasis added)

 In effect, this statutory provision provides that the selection of officials for a particular boxing match is within the sole and exclusive discretion of the boxing commission regulating the match; and the selection of officials is not at the behest of a sanctioning organization, promoter, or any other person with a financial interest in boxing.  As you, and the WBC also are aware, notwithstanding the above-quoted statute, it oft-times has been the practice of many boxing commissions in the U.S., with the approval of the ABC, to entertain a list of officials submitted to it by a sanctioning organization for a particular boxing match with the boxing commission selecting two of the four officials for that match (one referee and three judges) from the sanctioning organization’s list.  Such a practice, however, is not required of, and has never been a mandate to, any boxing commission member of the ABC.  Accordingly, while the ABC would encourage its member commissions to consider input from a sanctioning organization in the limited manner as described above, a member commission is not obligated do so.

 One may infer that the recent actions of the WBC, itself, have discouraged boxing commissions from entertaining a list of officials submitted to it by the WBC, or to otherwise consider any input of the WBC in such regard.  For example, in September, 2008, WBC President Jose Sulaiman threatened to place, and, on September 13, 2008, indeed, did place, “WBC judges,” unlicensed by the Mississippi Athletic Commission, at a WBC title fight and a WBC “elimination” fight held in Biloxi, Mississippi – having taken exception to the selection and appointment of officials by the Mississippi Athletic Commission. See, respectively, “open letters” from Jose Sulaiman and Tim Lueckenhoff, published on the Internet, regarding these matters; and see, Minutes, ABC Legal Committee, September 17, 2008, 2. 

 As set forth in the Constitution / By-laws of the Association of Boxing Commissions, §1.3(g), one of the missions of the ABC is “[t]o encourage adherence to, and enforcement of, applicable federal laws by each member of the ABC.”  The ABC strongly encourages the WBC, and all sanctioning organizations, to do the same.

     Very truly yours,
     Tim Lueckenhoff

cc:   Honorable John McCain
       All persons copied on/recipients of referenced WBC Memorandum/Letter:
           Jose Sulaiman, President, WBC
           Don King
          Gary Shaw
          Tom Molloy
          Joel Campuzano
          Joe Dwyer
         WBC Board of Governors
         Bismark Morales
         Antonio DeMarco
         Anges Adjaho
         Miguel Rodriquez
         Ivan Kirpa

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