Members of the state Athletics Commission on Tuesday discussed several changes to rules governing boxing and mixed martial arts in West Virginia, including dropping state championship boxing bouts from 10 rounds to eight rounds.
Jerry Thomas, a boxing promoter from Clarksburg who attended the meeting, said shortening the fights would lead to more championship bouts, more entertaining fights for the fans and lower the risk of injury for fighters.
Members also discussed requiring training certification for all judges and referees in the state. Currently, only MMA officials are required to take yearly certification classes.
Commission member Jim Frio recommended the state create its own boxing official certification, instead of going through the national Association of Boxing Commissions, as has been done in the past.
He said it is difficult to get ABC-sanctioned officials, because it is difficult for would-be officials to obtain certification. As a result, promoters have to bring judges and referees from other states.
Frio said a state certification would allow the Athletics Commission to train potential officials.
“We have them here. Our problem is, we’re relying on the ABC,” he said.
Other board members disagreed, saying a state certification might not protect the commission in a court of law.
Commission president Steve Allred said any changes to certification requirements for officials would require changes to state code by the state Legislature.
Members did not take a vote on any of the changes discussed at Tuesday’s meeting, however.