Sunday, March 26, 2023  |



New health insurance policy finally available for boxing in NY

James DeGale (right) faces off against fellow titleholder Badou Jack (left). Photo / Amanda Westcott-Showtime

A health insurance policy was finally approved for boxing events in New York State, allowing a highly-anticipated Jan. 14 card at Barclays Center to likely go forward.

However, the policy is generally viewed by boxing officials in New York as flawed and a stop-gap measure that won’t solve the long-term problem of allowing promoters of big and small shows to continue to practice their trade in the state.

“It is our understanding that a combat sports insurance policy has been approved with an insurance carrier (United States Fire Insurance Company) and will soon be made available to promoters,” New York Department of State spokesman Laz Benitez said in an email to Benitez said the policy will be available to promoters to purchase for the Jan. 14 show at Barclays Center between James DeGale and Badou Jack in a super middleweight unification match for THE RING, WBC and IBF titles.

A source, citing the exorbitant costs of the approved policy (roughly $17,000 for a 10-fight card) said a different policy was still being explored for the Jan. 14 show at a lesser cost. The price of health insurance for combat sports skyrocketed in April after MMA was legalized in New York. Minimum health coverage spiked from $10,000 to $50,000 per fighter. But the measure that left promoters aghast was a $1 million requirement for each boxer in the case of a serious head injury that they viewed as untenable.

The new regulations basically killed boxing in New York. There has not been a show since Errol Spence fought Leonard Bundu on Aug. 21 in Coney Island with promoters pulling several dates in 2016 while the New York State Athletic Commission found an affordable policy. Now, officials view the recently approved policy as still too expensive for the average club show and even for the bigger ones to exist in the state.

“Of course, I am pleased that any insurance hurdle to the January 14 event has been cleared,” Alex Dombroff, an attorney for the New York-based promoter Lou DiBella told DiBella is promoting the Jan. 14 show in Brooklyn.  “However, it appears that the cost of this policy will now be more than double the $7,500 figure the athletic commission had been quoting for months even after experts unanimously claimed it was impossible,” he went on. “Club shows will still cease to exist and the vast majority of other events will still seek homes out of state. There is still a great deal of work to do to ensure that more than just high level boxing events can take place in New York and that fighters are adequately protected. In my opinion, the $1 million coverage for life-threatening brain injuries serves neither of those ends.”