The North American Boxing Federation is proud to announce that Dr. Edwin “Flip” Homansky has accepted the Chairmanship of the NABF Medical Board.
Dr. Homansky, is a former Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) commissioner, former NSAC Medical Advisory Board Chairman & Chief Ringside Physician for over twenty-five years, former Association of Boxing Commissions vice-president, current vice-president of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.
There is probably no one in the world with more medical experience as it relates to boxing. Dr. Homansky worked thousands of Nevada’s fights, and some of the greatest fights ever hosted by the state including Hagler-Hearns, Hearns-Leonard, all Bowe-Holyfield bouts, and many fights featuring Julio Cesar Chavez, Mike Tyson and Oscar De la Hoya.
He was instrumental in many safeguards now in place in boxing including lobbying to change championship rounds from 15 to 12, and instrumental in Nevada becoming first state to include HIV and anabolic steroid testing. For these reasons and many others, in 2006 he was awarded the Boxing Writers Association of America James A. Farley Award in recognition of a career marked by “honesty and integrity.”
Dr. Homansky, an emergency medicine specialist, established the emergency departments at over five Las Vegas Hospitals. He is currently serving as Chief of Quality Care for Las Vegas’ Valley Health System, Nevada State Board of Health member, and Medical Director for AMR (American Medical Response) in Southern Nevada.
The NABF is thrilled to have Dr. Homansky join the Executive Board of the North American Boxing Federation. He truly understands the need for advancing safety standard uniformity for all fighters. In addition to educating boxers and trainers on all issues as they pertain to fighter health, eliminating performance enhancing drug use in our sport is his top priority.
NABF – President
In his opening comments, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said, “The conventions are always the most important moment of the year for the WBC. Here is where the WBC Board and Committees meet. Each one reviews what it has been doing and if its plans and goals were met, and we plan for the next year. All of the very important decisions and changes of the rules and organization have taken place during the conventions.
“We appreciate very much all of the promoters and managers that are here for this session. All of the ring officials are in another room doing their seminars, and there are other workshops going on. This morning, we are going to have a ratings review, and there will be a couple of presentations.”
WBC Ratings Committee:
Mauricio Sulaiman WBC President
Frank Quill (Australia) Chairman
Luis Medina (México) Secretary
Mauro Betti (Italy)
Victor Cota (Mexico)
Mikhail Denisov (Russia)
Alberto Guerra (Panama)
Nicolas Hidalgo (Venezuela)
Dean Lohuis (USA)
Ken Morita (Japan)
Ed Pearson (Canada)
Carlos Rodriguez (Argentina)
Peter Stucki (Switzerland)
Edward Thangarajah (Thailand)
Daniel Van De Wiele (Belgium)
Robert Yalen (USA)
Fighter representatives and fighters who participated in the ratings meeting included, in alphabetical order: Rodney Berman, Eric Bottjer, Alex Camponovo, Abraham Darwish, Robert Diaz, Philippe Fondu, Che Guevara, Rahilou Abdul Ilah, Sampson Lewkowicz, Don Majeski, Leon Margules, Barry Michael, Takashi Misako, Jolene Mizzone, Pat Nelson, Ken Porter, Shawn Porter, Edgardo Rosani, Tarik Saadi, Anthony Sands, Gary Shaw, Shingo Suzuki, Alex Vaysfeld, Chauncey Welliver, and Peter Zwennes.
President Sulaiman said, “The WBC has reached an agreement with an organization named VADA, which is a different testing from the regular after-the-fight test, which is used only for the fight. The VADA program with the WBC intends to test throughout the year in a random way. There is a universe of fighters who are within the Top 15 and champions who are eligible for this testing. It’s random, and we’re going to conduct training and certification throughout the convention. This process is starting, we’re going to take steps and once again, with this agreement with VADA, boxing is leading the other sports for a problem that we have.”
Margaret Goodman, M.D, President and Board Chairman of VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, addressed the morning assembly. She said [excerpts], “Thank you for inviting us here today, Mauricio. I’m so honored to be a part of this. I started in boxing in 1993, and it was a big night for me last night because I saw some of the fighters I had examined to determine their fitness to box, like Tommy Hearns. It was a great, great honor, and I loved Don José so much, so it is amazing to me to be a part of this.
“Several months ago, Duane Ford, who has been a wonderful friend and a mentor to me through the years when I worked as a ring physician, invited us to the NABF convention, where we gave a short presentation on performance-enhancing drugs, and Mauricio was there. I was amazed when Mauricio sat down with me and said, ‘Margaret, one of the most important things we need to do is to stop the use of performance-enhancing drugs in our sport.’
“I started to pay attention to this about three years ago, when I was still writing for The Ring magazine. I would talk to fighters in the gym, fighters would call me up and I would interview them, and I would find out the prevalence of this problem. There’s lots of things that are momentous in boxing. When we started doing MRI studies and neurological exams of fighters, that was important. But I think this is going to surpass just about everything that we have all tried to do, because this speaks at the heart of fair, clean sport, and that’s what we all want for the safety of the fighters.
“As I mentioned, I was a ring physician from 1994 to 2005. I was chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission Medical Advisory Board until 2007. Ryan Connolly, our Chief Legal Counsel with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association started with us when we put this together in 2011. Ryan has been an anti-doping legal attorney for 15 years. He was the business director and started UCLA Olympic Analytical Lab with Dr. Don Catlin, who will mention, as well.
“I think when we discuss this, we’ll see how unprecedented this is and how this will really change the sport. The main problem is that when testing is performed, in most instances, it’s done after the fight. Sometimes it’s done at the weigh-in, but it’s done in a very close relationship to the fight. Often, it’s only the championship fighters that are tested. The panels that are used, that we spoke about earlier, don’t include all the anabolic agents. There is almost no unannounced random testing. Now, I know in Great Britain they do some and some of the other countries, and that is fabulous, but in the United States it’s almost never done and in a lot of other places it’s never done.
“It’s funny. I remember when I started working fights and I would talk to fighters and they weren’t that savvy, because people wouldn’t talk to them. But trust me, they know about all of this. They know about all of it, in some respects, as well as I do.
“The most important thing we can proceed to do is to add new testing. The program that the WBC has designed with us – that obviously, we’re going to proceed ahead and get more information with the legal department and get it all delineated – is first, community outreach. We talked with Mauricio about going to the gyms – the gyms in Mexico, the gyms in the United States, and the schools. Recent studies have shown in the United States that up to seven percent of boys, median average age 15, have used anabolic steroids already. Some of them start at age 10. Girls, it’s up to five percent.
“Secondly, what we have talked about with the WBC and what we are now working on is an online tutorial for fighters and trainers, and you will also have complete access. This will be a web-based program for everyone to learn about performance-enhancing drugs and supplements, so that the fighters know what this program is about, and they will learn what the side-effects of these substances are. This is totally unprecedented, and will be available to all of the fighters all over the world.”
It was announced that long-time WBC Convention Chairman Chuck Williams was elected to the WBC Board of Governors.
An award was presented to Lo Mejor de Boxeo’s Juan Carlos Tapia for his outstanding contributions to boxing. Mauricio Sulaiman said, “Mr. Juan Carlos Tapia is a person who has been dedicated to bring to the fans a program named Lo Mejor de Boxeo [The Best of Boxing]. This program started 40 years ago, and he has not stopped it for one single week. He has brought in internet services, television, videos, and DVDs. Mr. Tapia is one of the great persons who have made contributions to the sport of boxing through professional and very conscious positive journalism. I would like everybody to recognize Mr. Tapia.”
Former WBC featherweight and two-time super featherweight world champion and 2004 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Azumah Nelson addressed the assembly and said, “It feels great to be a champion, but it feels greater when you use your position to support the less-privileged. This morning I present to you my biography titled, ‘The Professor.’ I encourage you to get a copy to know my story. The proceeds will benefit the needy children back home in my country, Ghana. Thank you very much.”
Former four-division world champion – which included the WBC lightweight, welterweight and middleweight world championships – and 2007 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Roberto Duran spoke in Spanish to the assembly, translated by Mauricio Sulaiman. He said, “First of all, I am very happy to be here. I was not aware that there was going to be a tribute to your father, José Sulaiman. I saw you working and people were discussing how you were doing, so I think you had a very good school from your father. I’m very happy to be here with the WBC. I’m a very proud member of the WBC – I was a champion of the WBC, and champion of the ‘other.’ I’m happy to see you and Gilberto Mendoza of the WBA being dear friends and brothers, but if you lay a hand on Mendoza, you’re much bigger so you would knock him out.”
Article by: MICHAEL KAPLAN
At 6 am in a suburb of Manila in the Philippines, a directive from Las Vegas set off a recent ruckus in the living room of featherweight boxer Nonito Donaire. He was fast asleep and had instructed the housekeeper not to disturb him under any circumstances. But a visitor insisted that Donaire be roused from slumber. Certain that she was putting her job at risk, Donaire’s housekeeper woke him up. Bleary-eyed but out of bed, the Vegas-based pugilist saw an American woman with a carrying case. He knew what she had come for: his blood and urine. Donaire had signed up with the nonprofit Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, agreeing to be tested for drugs at any time, with no warning. Without argument, he gave his visitor what she requested.
The association was launched in 2011 by Dr. Margaret Goodman and Dr. Edwin “Flip” Homansky, partners who share long histories as ringside physicians. Homansky has worked some 2,000 fights, including classic confrontations featuring Thomas “Hitman” Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Mike Tyson (yes, including the ear-biting incident). He served as chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s Medical Advisory Board, was vice president of the Association of Boxing Commissions, and has lobbied vigorously for enhanced drug testing. Goodman, a neurologist, consulted with the New York State Attorney General’s Office on neurological injuries in boxing and rose to the post of chief ringside physician. They share a love of boxing and a desire to see combat sports remain pure.
The physicians launched VADA in response to what they felt was a lax attitude toward performance enhancing drugs in the worlds of boxing and mixed martial arts. Over the last three years, Goodman and Homansky have devoted much of their time and resources to helping fighters prove that they’re clean and to offering free education through their organization, which is funded by donations as well as the financial support of athletes, promoters, and sponsors that care about keeping fights clean. “There’s a lack of knowledge among regulators of boxing and mixed martial arts,” says Homansky. “Early on, for example, they didn’t think anabolic steroids would do any good for non-heavyweights who want to be fast and lean. But that’s just ignorance. Drugs can be used in cocktails that create anything you’re looking for, whether it’s speed or bulk.”
In Nevada, steroid testing began in 2001. “But it’s still not done correctly,” Homansky points out. “Athletes know when they’ll be tested” and can time their drug use. VADA operates differently: Testing times are random, and any fighter who fails to be available within 60 minutes of being approached receives a warning. If it happens a second time, he is out of the program. Those who have signed up with VADA include Ultimate Fighting Championship greats Georges St-Pierre and Roy Nelson and boxers Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley.
Recognizing the importance of keeping boxing and MMA clean and credible, particularly in Vegas, the doctors work zealously to set an agenda they hope will one day become standard. “I talked to different commissions about anteing up [requiring stringent testing],” says Goodman, whose novel Death in Vegas will be published this fall. “But even as performance-enhancing drug use was common, nobody would do anything. So we did it. There are fighters who want to show a commitment to clean sports—and they want their opponents to be clean as well.”
The VADA process is state-of-the-art and comes with consequences—including being reported to various athletic organizations—for those who fail the test. “We test for hundreds of things,” says Goodman. “We test for human growth hormones. We test for EPO—the most common form of blood doping, it increases the number of red blood cells. But athletes don’t need fancy drugs. They can just walk into an antiaging clinic and get a testosterone prescription. It’s a successful doping drug because it has a short life in the blood and can easily be timed to not show up when you don’t want it to.”
Although Homansky and Goodman agree that harsher penalties and more-stringent testing can help keep drugs out of boxing and MMA, they also believe that education goes a long way. Along those lines, they helped put together a seminar at Las Vegas’s Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, spoke at the Association of Boxing Commissions, and, through VADA, advise athletes who want to know which supplements are legal and which are not. Sometimes, in fact, it’s not illicit drugs that cause a problem. Goodman remembers one fight in which a cornerman could not get his boxer’s nose to stop bleeding. “I later found out that he was taking anti-inflammatories before the fight,” she says, explaining that they thin the blood and make clotting more difficult.
And sometimes fighters just need to be protected from the people closest to them. “Young athletes are guided by promoters and managers who can be enablers—these people may only care about the fight going on and getting paid,” says Homansky. “It’s possible that fighters can take things without even knowing that they’re illegal. Every morning, let’s say, the fighter gets a smoothie, made by his trainer. Typically he has no idea what’s in it.”
Now, Goodman says, with the help of VADA, “He does.”
Read more at http://vegasmagazine.com/personalities/articles/what-former-ringside-doctors-are-doing-to-keep-combat-sports-clean#kVqeGfmIbHRyQPFy.99