Boxing: Morris in call for one governing authority

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The Independent Online
THE GENERAL SECRETARY of the British Boxing Board of Control, John Morris, has called for a world body to bring order to the sport.

Morris has campaigned for five years to establish a Fifa-style organisation to oversee championship bouts. The debate over Evander Holyfield's controversial world heavyweight championship draw with Lennox Lewis has led to calls for a worldwide reform.

Morris believes a world governing body could be established with powers to enforce rules in the conduct of title fights, although promoters would still be allowed to make the deals and stage the bouts.

"Fifa's job is to safeguard its sport so that everyone can get the benefit of it and in boxing we have to project our sport in the best possible way," he said.

Morris argues that the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation, the three organisations involved in the New York controversy, are sanctioning rather than governing bodies. Each has its own regulations and a streamlined approach is needed, particularly in the United States where boxing is run by state commissions.

Morris feels a world regulatory body would have responsibility for medical provision, fight rules and the selection of judges and their supervision. He feels neutral judges are needed.

"Four or five years ago I, and the-then [BBBC] president, Sir David Hopkin, wrote to all the major administrators calling on them to co-operate and we had a lot of support. There was a very favourable reaction from Japan and states within America who have benefited greatly from the work of the Association of Boxing Commissions."

"The whole set-up has improved in the US and the ABC is a far more forceful body which is defending the interests of the sport. But what is needed is funding and top professional administrators."

Lewis's manager, Frank Maloney, yesterday claimed that his fighter would have beaten Muhammad Ali. Maloney described Lewis as the "best finisher in the heavyweight division" and claimed that Ali would have been out- muscled by the bigger man.

Maloney also ruled out the prospect of his fighter meeting Holyfield at Wembley in a rematch. Lewis's camp want the return to be at an alternative British venue, though, and Maloney urged the sports minister, Tony Banks, to offer his support.

"The rematch can't be at Wembley because US television controls the situation. It can come to somewhere else in Britain if we match the money that is put up by the Americans. We hope that Tony Banks will get the private sector involved."

In response, Banks said: "I am always keen to focus the eyes of the sporting world on Britain and I will, of course, help in any way I can towards securing the rematch. It is vital that boxing recovers from the body blow its reputation has received and I think that hosting the fight in Britain would go a significant way towards this."

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