Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Pro Boxing Law Narrowly Passes State Legislature

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Pro Boxing Law Narrowly Passes State Legislature

Article excerpt

A proposed law to regulate professional boxing in Oklahoma has won a narrow decision in the Legislature.

Senate Bill 265 cleared the Senate Thursday by a 37-8 knockout. The House of Representatives, though, scored it 54-43 in favor of the measure and approved its emergency clause by a vote of 68-30, exactly the two-thirds margin required for adoption.

The 24-page "Oklahoma Professional Boxing Licensing Act" is the culmination of three years of work by its House sponsor, Rep. John Bryant, R-Tulsa, and by its principal author, Sen. Brooks Douglass, R-Oklahoma City.

Bryant told his colleagues that Oklahoma hosted 39 boxing cards in 1990 _ the fifth highest number in the nation that year _ yet the sport still is not regulated in the Sooner State.

Boxing is a dangerous sport, Bryant said. During public hearings on Senate Bill 265, testimony indicated that a good fighter may be matched against an opponent who may have no experience.

Unregulated, with no rules to ensure the safety of fighters or to protect spectators from potential fraud, Oklahoma is "an outlaw state in boxing circles," Bryant said.

Under Senate Bill 265, the state Labor Department would allow professional boxers, trainers, managers, referees, timekeepers, promoters and booking agents to apply voluntarily for provisional licenses to conduct officially sanctioned events, starting Oct. 1, 1993. Compulsory licensure would be implemented Jan. 1, 1995.

The bill defines a professional pugilist as anyone 18 or older "who competes for money, prizes or purses, or who teaches, instructs or assists in the practice of boxing or sparring as a means of obtaining pecuniary gain."

Amateur boxers, their instructors and practitioners of martial arts such as karate, kung fu and tae kwon do would be exempt from licensure.

And matches conducted or sponsored by schools, colleges and universities in which the fighters are students, and events held on military installations in which armed forces personnel are the contenders would be exempt from regulation. …

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