New York inspector general faults state boxing commission
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) An investigation launched by New York's inspector general after a pro fighter suffered nearly fatal injuries concluded the state boxing commission was plagued by deficient practices, limited oversight and conflicts of interest.
Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott said her office's probe into the New York State Athletic Commission was prompted by the severe brain injuries and poor post-fight treatment suffered by heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov in 2013 at Madison Square Garden.
Investigators said the fighter walked outside afterward, vomited, then was taken by his handlers in a 15-minute taxi ride to Roosevelt Hospital, though there were ambulances available at the arena. He had emergency surgery for bleeding in his brain.
''The commission's lack of appropriate emergency medical protocols and oversight procedures, as well as clear conflicts of interest among senior staff, reflect a systemic breakdown of its most basic operations,'' Scott said Monday. With the commission poised to regulate mixed martial arts in addition to pro boxing, she said reforms are imperative.
She recommended standard pre-fight and post-fight physical and neurological examinations, giving communications devices to all staff, having a tactical emergency plan to address medical issues at any time and ethics training.
New York's Department of State, which oversees the commission, said it has taken steps to implement many of Scott's recommendations. Commission Chairman Tom Hoover's resignation was accepted, the department said.
Hoover was criticized in the report for permitting friends and relatives to obtain ''credentials'' allowing them to attend pro boxing matches for free.
His predecessor, Melvina Lathan, resigned as chair in 2015 in the wake of the investigation, according to the Inspector General's Office. She and other staff were faulted by investigators for receiving improper gifts from boxing promoters, including wine and jewelry.
Investigators found there was confusion about the diagnoses and recommendations from Abdusalamov's post-fight medical examinations, no complete post-fight emergency plan in place and limited interpreter services for the fighter who primarily spoke Russian.
Abdusalamov, a former Russian amateur champion, was an unbeaten professional until his 10-round loss to Mike Perez that night. He remains disabled.