Court Finds Professional Boxer Under Promotional Contract is Neither an “Employee” or “Laborer”

As first reported by Kurt Emhoff at, reasons for judgement were recently published by the US District Court, Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division commenting on whether a boxer under a promotional agreement is a laboror or employee.  The judgement is narrow in scope focussing on provisions in a Florida Long-Arm statute but are worth noting nonetheless given how little judicial commentary exists scrutinizing the labor status of contracted prize-fighters.

In the recent case (Square Ring Inc., v. Toryanovksy) the parties were involved in litigation surrounding a promotional agreement. In the context of a jurisdictional challenge one issue the Court canvassed is whether the Defendant could be considered an employee or laborer under Florida law. Emhoff summarizes the key findings as follows:

Counsel raised the argument that Florida’s long arm statute regarding personal jurisdiction did not apply because the promotional contract constituted a labor or employment contract – both of which were excluded under the statute.  A finding by the Court that promotional contracts are labor or employment contracts would be interesting precedent.

Judge Rodgers, however, rejected Troyanovsky’s argument…

Because the terms “labor” and “employment” were not defined in the statute, the Court looked to how the terms were defined by the common law and the dictionary.  The Court found “Laborer” was defined in Webster’s as “a person who does unskilled physical work for wages.”  The Court further found that under the common law, “an ’employee’ is a person who performs services under the substantial control or direction of an employer.”

The Court held that the promotional agreement at issue was “for the promotion of Troyanovsky’s skills as a world-class professional boxer, not unskilled work.”  The Court further found that Square Ring did not exert sufficient control over Troyanovsky such that he was an employee.  Thus, the promotional agreement was not a contract for labor or employment that would exempt it from the effect of the forum selection clause. 

The full judgement can be found here – Square Ring Inc v. Toryanovsky


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