Bill must still be considered in House

WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted Monday to establish a federal boxing commission that would seek to ensure the integrity and improve the tarnished image of the sport.

The commission would establish standards for issuing licenses to boxers and managers and take steps to protect boxer health and safety.

The measure, approved on a voice vote, would set up a national computerized medical registry of boxing personnel and would provide uniform ranking criteria and contractual guidelines.

The bill, which must still be considered by the House, is sponsored by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a boxing fan who has long tried to clean up the sport by better protecting the health of boxers and ensuring fair financial treatment for them.

The three-person U.S. Boxing Commission would be appointed by the president and function within the Commerce Department.

The legislation, amending a 1996 boxing safety act, includes such provisions as requiring the continuous presence of an ambulance and emergency medical personnel during any match. It would bar a promoter from arranging a match unless all participating judges and referees are approved by the USBC.

In House hearings last March, the International Boxing Federation and the World Boxing Association weighed in against a federal commission but indicated they do support national medical standards.