USA: New York Laws

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History of New York Boxing Legislation, Rules & Regulations

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(Enter material chronologically)

  • 1859: Specific legislation bans promoting and engaging in “ring or prize fights.”
  • 1896: The Horton Law becomes effective, legalizing boxing in the state of New York (until 1900).
  • 1900-08-30: The Lewis Law repeals the Horton Law, and makes prize-fighting illegal in New York state. Boxing will continue in New York on a club membership basis only until 1911.
  • 1906-05-28: Terry McGovern, Jimmy Britt and others are arrested after their bout for violating Section 458, which made it a misdemeanor "for any person to engage in, promote or encourage a boxing contest at which admission is charged."
  • 1907-11-16: NYC and Boston clubs decide to bar "colored" boxers. [1]
  • 1911-01-21: 'Amateur Clubs Get Knockout' by New York judge, who rules against the club membership "scheme" that attempts to get around the law prohibiting "boxing exhibitions." [2]
  • 1911-07-26: Governor Dix signs bill (Frawley Act) permitting ten-round no-decision bouts, using eight-ounce gloves. [3] (The state would later determine that $110,000 was paid by licensed boxing clubs into the state controller's office, at 5% on gross receipts, over the next year. Another report mentioned $300,000. [4])
  • 1911-08-29: The Frawley Act, legalizing ten-round bouts, becomes effective. [5] According to the Jan. 11, 1914 New York Times, p. S2, the Frawley Act made no mention in favor of or against the giving of decisions. Instead, the NYSAC enacted a regulation against decisions at its first meeting, and the NYSAC had "sole charge of the question."
  • 1911-12-02: State commission rules that clean breaks must prevail, and that each boxer is allowed only four seconds in his corner. Wire report [6]
  • 1913-January: Boxing commission revises weight divisions. [7][8]
  • 1913-02-11: Boxing Commission rules against bouts between black and white boxers. [9] Later, Attorney General Carmody researches the legal basis for this ruling. [10]
  • 1913-02-03: Boxing Commission issues ruling prohibiting use of adhesive tape in connection with soft bandages for the hands, and bard them forever, causing "loud and grievous squeals of protest from the rank and file of the pug brigade." [11]
  • 1914-04-29: Black boxers and their managers meet to protest New York's recent ban on mixed-race bouts. April 30 New York Times, p. 9.
  • 1916-02-21: The state athletic commission issues a new scale of weight divisions: paperweight: 108 lbs, bantamweight: 115, featherweight: 123, lightweight: 133, welterweight: 144, middleweight: 158, commission: 175, heavyweight: 175+. [12]
  • 1917-03-00: Governor Charles E. Whitman vows to crush boxing in the state, and veteran promoter Tex Rickard predicts the end of boxing in NYC. [13]. (The January 14, 1924 Plattsburgh Daily Press, p. 1, reported that the ring-death of Young McDonald at Albany in January 1917 had caused Gov. Whitman to call for a repeal of the Malone Boxing Law, outlawing prizefighting until the 1920 Walker Law.)
  • 1917-05-15: The Slater Bill, outlawing boxing in the state, after having been twice defeated, becomes law.
  • 1917-08-17: State boxing commission refuses to grants licenses for outdoor boxing shows. [14]
  • 1917-11-14: Frawley Act dies; boxing now illegal. Wire reports [15]
  • 1920-03-25: State Senate adopts the Walker Law, which legalizes boxing and establishes the New York State Athletic Commission, and becomes the model for many other jurisdictions throughout the United States.
  • 1920-05-28: State Attorney General Charles D. Newton rules, in a decision transmitted to Adjutant General Charles W. Berry of the New York State National Guard, that state armories may be used for boxing. General Berry immediately issues a statement that armories would not be used for professional boxing "at the present time." New York Times
  • 1920-10-15: New York starts issuing boxing licenses, pursuant to the new Walker Law. Los Angeles Times
  • 1921-02-11: New York State Athletic Commission bans the use of rubber mouth protectors, declaring them in violation of the Walker Law, Rule V. This is a direct result of the Jack Britton-Ted (Kid) Lewis bout. New York Times
  • 1921-03-03: NYSAC fixes maximum admission charge for championship boxing bouts at $15, and $10 for other fistic events. [16]
  • 1921-08-23: NYSAC states that all main events and "star" bouts must be on a percentage basis--no guarantee or special bonuses are allowed. It further adopts a rule providing for a uniform count on knockdowns. [17]
  • 1923-04-10: Brigade and Armory Commanders of the 2nd Corps Area (New York National Guard) draft resolution in favor of permitting boxing in the armories. New York Times
  • 1925-December: Boxers in New York under age 21 are prohibited from participating in any bouts longer than 6 rounds. Per Dec. 24 Tacoma News-Tribune
  • 1928-August: New York boxers in preliminaries are paid $10 per round. August 12 Los Angeles Times

See also, New York State Athletic Commission