At this week’s Association of Boxing Commission annual conference rapid extreme weight cutting in combative sports was called an ‘epidemic’. Given the documented injuries and deaths from the practice that is a fair characterization.
In an attempt to address the issue the ABC voted on new guidelines hoping to discourage the most extreme forms of weight cuts at boxing’s highest level.
The ABC enjoys a mandate to oversee certain health and safety requirements of professional boxing through the powers granted to them under the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act. One power the ABC was given through this legislation was the ability to “approve… guidelines for objective and consistent written criteria for the ratings of professional boxers“. Congress wishes for these criteria to then be followed by sanctioning bodies and State Athletic Commissions.
Using this power the ABC updated their pro boxing rating guidelines to take weight cutting into account. In short the ABC noted that athletes who cut more than 10% of their body weight are ‘cheating’. If a fighter competing for a boxing title is to gain more than 10% of the weight (as measured at a day of fight second weigh in) that fighter would be ineligible to win the title and further ineligible to compete for a future title for 12 months. The fighter would also be exposed to fines and a decrease in ranking.
The specific amendments voted into place read as follows and come into force as of January 1, 2019:
Any 8, 10, or 12 round championship Bout will be subject to a follow up weigh-in held at a time and place determined by the local commission. At this follow up weigh-in the boxers cannot exceed 10% of the Bout contract weight.
For example, if bout contract is 147lbs., 147×10% = 14.7lbs. Thus, this boxer cannot exceed 161.7lbs.
If the boxer misses weight at this second day weigh-in the bout shall continue as a title fight only for the boxer that has made weight. If the over-weight boxer wins this bout he/she cannot claim the title. If the champion is the over-weight boxer and he/she wins the bout, the title becomes vacant. It should be noted there is NO opportunity to lose weight at this Second day weigh-in. It is a onetime weigh-in.
There shall be a minimum FINE for missing weight on either day of at least 10% of the offender’s purse which shall go to the other boxer. Commissions may also choose to fine and/or issue a suspension to the offender.
The ABC shall recommend to the sanctioning organization(s) that any rated boxer who exceeds the contracted weight and/or the ten percent (10%) maximum allowable weight gain on the second-day weigh-in for any championship bout, be lowered in the ratings of any and all sanctioning organizations and not be allowed to participate in Championship bouts for twelve (12) months.
The ABC shall recommend to the sanctioning organization (s) that any rated boxer who exceeds the contracted weight and/or the ten percent (10%) maximum allowable weight gain on the second-day weigh-in for a second occasion for any championship fight, be excluded from the ratings of any and all sanctioning organizations for twelve (12) months.
These provisions shall be subject to and determined by any and all the sanctioning organizations.