WBC board supports proposal for five judges at major title fights

Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Boxing

HONOLULU -- The World Boxing Council Board of Governors on Wednesday supported a proposal to assign five judges to future major title fights.

Though the suggestion from the worldwide panel to add two more judges would need to be instituted by state and national commissions, who likely would work to gather input from fight promoters, the sanctioning body cast its plan as a necessary step of evolution from the sometimes controversial process that has been altered over time.

"There's nothing more damaging to boxing than a controversial decision. In those title fights that are complicated and complex, the risk of a bad decision will (decrease) in a high level with five judges," WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman told the Los Angeles Times after emerging from the board meeting.

Sulaiman said that "with important fights coming up," he is planning discussions with various state commissioners, promoters and fighters to approve what he envisions as an improvement for the sport akin to the WBC's stringent drug testing in its Clean Boxing Program and other safeguards it's pushed.

Sulaiman said the WBC board also approved voluntary random drug and alcohol tests for its judges and referees to assure competent officiating. It also agreed to institute a new database and analytics rankings system that will be used to place the top judges in the most significant bouts while assigning others who aren't working to live, online scoring of title fights as another means of evaluation. Training will continue to be part of the officials' job requirement, Sulaiman said.

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Sulaiman said the WBC additionally approved extending its Clean Boxing Program to all women's champions and top-five-ranked fighters in all divisions, requiring those boxers to enroll in mandatory, year-round drug testing handled by the Nevada-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.

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