The World Boxing Council Board of Governors have 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 would likely 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 [to find unilateral support for three judges], the risk of a bad decision will [decrease] in a high level with five judges,” WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman told The Times after emerging from the board meeting.
“It’s a matter of getting the boxing industry onboard. We’ve already done some groundwork on it, and we’ll look to see if we can get it accomplished this year. The idea is likable. There will always be resistance to change, but we’re giving it an attempt.”
Sulaiman said the WBC board also approved voluntary random drug and alcohol tests for its judges and referees to assure competent officiating, while also agreeing 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.
Sulaiman said he hasn’t experienced alcohol and drug issues with active officials, but he added, “Alcoholism and addiction is an issue worldwide and boxing is not exempt of that. We’re only securing — on top of our Clean Boxing Program for fighters — that the officials working the fights are also absolutely clean.”
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 Assn.