Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Martin’s problem
puts boxing on hold

The state boxing commission
rules amateur events illegal
until he gets a promoter's license

One of Hawaii boxing commissioner Bobby Lee's favorite sayings is "boxing in Hawaii is dead, nobody has buried it yet."

That was never more evident than yesterday.

The Hawaii State Boxing Commission ruled that until local boxing committee president Ralph Martin gets his promoter's license, amateur events are against the law.

"All amateur boxing in the state will cease, effective (yesterday)," commission chairman Willes Lee said. "Until the amateurs are properly licensed by the state, there is no amateur boxing."

Martin has not had his license since 2003, something the new commission discovered earlier this year.

Martin says the only requirement left to fulfill is to get a surety bond, a step he intends to have completed by the end of the week. Martin's license application can't be approved or denied until the commission next meets, though, which is expected to be next month.

Martin was also supposed to hand over the organization's financial report, but did not have it ready yet. The financial report has no bearing on Martin's application for a promoter's license, but he will have to show one before holding bouts.

Martin says there are no shows scheduled that will be impacted by the ruling and that he expects local fighters to continue training as usual.

"It is just a paperwork issue," Martin said. "It is no problem."

One problem Martin does have came to light at yesterday's meeting, as boxing coaches Eiichi Jumawan, Carl Phillips, Fred Perreira and boxing judge Chuck Williams made a plea to the commission to help resolve a matter within Martin's organization.

Martin, who won a four-year term to the presidency of the organization earlier this month, sent a letter to all boxing clubs asking for a meeting to discuss the possibility of using registration fees to help pay for the organization's mounting court costs. The local boxing committee is currently involved in a lawsuit against the local Golden Gloves franchise.

"I can guarantee that this will pass through Martin's organization, and our kids are going to get stuck with the cost of representing him," Williams said. "All we are asking is for some protection from the commission."

The commission declined to get involved, calling it an "internal matter."

But the commission is new to the business of regulating amateurs, as it had largely ignored that segment of the sport for the past 25 years, expecting the local committee to police itself. The commission decided that it is its duty, by law, to oversee boxing in the state in all forms when Willes Lee took over the chair last year.

"We are bound by honor and bound by the law to regulate (amateur boxing,)" Willes Lee said. "But we believe we can help (the local boxing committee) get through its troubles."

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