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Ban on White Collar Boxing Lifted After Four Years

Posted on 10/06/2010

NEW YORK, NY – September 15, 2010 – Amateur boxers in New York City can finally rejoice – the ban on White Collar Boxing has been lifted. After four years of being prohibited in the State of New York, an agreement has been reached with USA Boxing, the national governing body of amateur, Olympic-style boxing, and regulator of Golden Gloves, to permit White Collar Boxing in New York. White Collar Boxing will now be wholly regulated by USA Boxing and is considered a separate category of USA Boxing.

USA Boxing has appointed a host of new parameters to ensure the safety of White Collar Boxing. Boxers in all categories must have the same medical requirements as Master boxers. They are required to undergo a physical exam, including a stress test, and then obtain a letter from their doctors stating that they are physically fit to box. There will not be any judges present during a match, but there will be a qualified referee at each bout. Also under new regulations, two sparring White Collar Boxers must be within five years of age of one another, and very similar weights, a difference of approximately five pounds, at most.

White Collar Boxing is a particular subset of non-professional, non-amateur boxing that is reserved for “regular people” (doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers, policemen, journalists, etc.) who use the sport to get in shape, network and have fun – it’s one of the fastest growing workout/fitness trends in the world.

For years, professional New Yorkers, like Manhattan money manager John E. Oden, had the God-given right to engage in civilized pugilism legally after work. Two consenting adults, usually of the white collar variety, would strap on gloves, and under the heavily watchful eye of trainers and coaches, the two would enter the ring and do battle via fisticuffs. However, those days ended in 2006 when the New York State Boxing Commission ruled that the sport needed to be more heavily regulated and instituted, what advocates had called, an unreasonable laundry list of demands that organizers fulfill before the sport can legally return. New York was the only state to have barred White Collar Boxing.

White Collar Boxer and author John E. Oden, who has written two books about the sport of boxing, White Collar Boxing—One Man’s Journey from the Office to the Ring, published in 2005, and his 2009 follow up release, Life in the Ring: Lessons and Inspiration from the Sport of Boxing, remained firm on his public stance against the argument. His voice joined a chorus of other heavyweights who lobbied for the return of White Collar Boxing to New York. Notable New Yorkers and sports personalities such as boxing writer Bert Sugar, world famous trainer Emanuel Steward, and Bruce Silverglade, owner of the famed Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn all besieged the Commission to lift the ban. Oden laments that other working professionals should have the opportunity to experience their own journeys into the ring and, as he shares with his readers in his books, expresses that boxing, with the lone fighter placed squarely in the ring with little to defend him, is a potent metaphor for life.

As a successful money manager in Manhattan, John made his way into boxing at the unlikely age of 40 when he started working out in boxing gyms as a way of getting back into shape. Eventually, he started sparring regularly at the famed Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn (where fighters like Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta, Joe Frazier, and Larry Holmes have trained). Over time, John’s training became more serious and he became a white collar boxer.

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