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Calls for Boxing Ban Get Louder

Jan. 22, 1963 - There was agitation in Illinois and New York today for the abolition of professional boxing. These are the two states that have hosted more major fights than any others. In Troy, Ill., State Senator Paul Simon said a bill would be introduced in the state legislature to outlaw professional boxing. He added that the bill was not aimed at the world heavyweight champion, Sonny Liston, or “anyone else.” Mr. Simon, a 34-year-old Democrat representing the 47th district, said medical journals and sports publications had been “increasingly critical of this so-called sport, which has only one purpose — to knock a man senseless.” Mr. Simon said he had been told that on average, since 1953, 9 persons had been killed in the ring each year. In New York State, the fate of prizefighting may rest in the hands of the public. This was indicated when Assemblyman Hayward J. Poumadore, chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Professional Boxing, announced a public hearing on the bill to outlaw the sport. The Republican said the hearing, starting Feb. 4 in Albany, would give the public an opportunity to express opinions. The committee has been looking into all phases of the fight game following the death last March of Benny (Kid) Paret (left) as the result of his title bout with Emile Griffith at Madison Square Garden. It has heard from doctors, clergymen, sportswriters, and boxers.


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