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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 54 Pa.B. 2336 (April 27, 2024).

58 Pa. Code § 21.16. Safety Code.

§ 21.16. Safety Code.

 (a)  The Commission, referees, all other ring officials and participating athletes, managers and seconds shall be aware of the safety provisions in the Athletic Code, its amendments and this part. In addition, they shall be constantly alert to every reasonable consideration of humanity and common sense which indicate and govern the actions of prudent individuals to minimize the risks inherent in boxing. The primary, inescapable responsibility of the Commission will be the protection of the athletes under its jurisdiction, and under no circumstances will this concern be subordinated to an interest of gain, sentiment or convenience. Parties involved in implementing this basic program shall be dedicated not only to the letter of the Athletic Code, its amendments and this part but at least equally to the exercise of initiative, resource, decision and unstinted effort in those unprecedented, unpredictable and unprovided emergencies which challenge the best in individuals at the brink of safety or tragedy, life or death.

 (b)  The following fouls and other unsportsmanlike practices are prohibited in boxing contests in this Commonwealth:

   (1)  Hitting below the belt.

   (2)  Tripping.

   (3)  Kicking.

   (4)  Butting.

   (5)  Kneeing.

   (6)  Throttling.

   (7)  Elbowing.

   (8)  Striking with the head, shoulder or forearm.

   (9)  Hitting with open glove, or the inside, side or wrist of the glove.

   (10)  Hitting on the back, especially the kidneys or back of the neck.

   (11)  Pivot blows.

   (12)  Pressing the face of an opponent with arm or elbow.

   (13)  Attacking while holding the ropes and making use of the ropes in any other unfair way for attack purposes.

   (14)  Pressing the head of an opponent over the ropes or against the turnbuckles or ring posts.

   (15)  Wrestling, lying on and throwing while in a clinch.

   (16)  Attacking a fallen opponent.

   (17)  Clinching, holding or locking the arms or head of an opponent, pushing a stiff arm underneath an arm of the opponent, holding and hitting.

   (18)  Pulling and hitting.

   (19)  Hitting on the break after a clinch.

   (20)  Ducking low to up-end an incoming opponent.

   (21)  Thumbing and gouging the eyes of an opponent, rubbing the face of an opponent with laces, adhesive tape or abrasive area of or substance on the gloves.

   (22)  Use of an ointment, powder or other substance intended or likely to cause danger or discomfort to an opponent.

   (23)  Biting.

 (c)  A commissioner or the Executive Director will strictly enforce the requirements with respect to the bandaging of hands of boxers, the purpose of the bandaging being at all times confined to the protection of the hands and never the enhancement of the effect of blows. A boxing glove in which the padding has been displaced or broken may not be used in a contest under the jurisdiction of the Commission.

 (d)  A boxer may not engage in a contest without wearing an abdominal guard or cup. A female boxer shall also wear a chest protector approved by the Commission. A boxer may not wear shoes with hard soles, hard or sharp edged heels, spikes, cleats or abrasive surfaces.

 (e)  If the gloves of a boxer touch the floor of the ring during a contest, the referee shall cleanse them of resin, grit and dirt by wiping them on his shirt or, if necessary, with a towel before allowing the action to continue.

 (f)  A commissioner or the Executive Director has authority to enter and inspect training quarters of boxers under the jurisdiction of the Commission to observe the conduct, facilities and cleanliness of the quarters and to appraise the activities and the physical condition of boxers during training.

 (g)  Every boxer under the jurisdiction of the Commission in undertaking to engage in a contest within this Commonwealth shall certify to the Commission that he is in sound physical condition and is not concealing an illness, injury or disability. This certification shall be set forth in a contract entered into with a promoter for a contest whether by the boxer in his own behalf or by a manager acting for him. If the boxer incurs an illness, injury or disability prior to the contest, he and his manager, if any, shall be strictly responsible for prompt and complete disclosure to the Commission.

 (h)  The mandatory eight-count rule shall be in effect in boxing contests within this Commonwealth. If the referee rules that a boxer has been knocked down, action may not be resumed until the referee has counted to eight even though the fallen boxer meanwhile has regained his feet. During this eight-count, the referee or ringside physician may terminate the contest if a boxer appears to be in physical danger.

 (i)  The three knockdown rule will not be in effect in boxing contests within this Commonwealth.

 (j)  If a boxer is knocked out, his consequent suspension prohibits him not only from boxing in actual competition, but also from sparring as a part of his training exercises. If a boxer is knocked unconscious during a contest, his seconds may not minister to him, except to remove his mouth protector, until the attending physician has examined him and given appropriate instructions for his further care. If a boxer receives a concussion, the boxer may not be permitted to box, even after the expiration of the medical suspension, until the boxer has been thoroughly examined and approved by a physician, who may be designated by the Commission.

 (k)  If a boxer has been a victim of repeated knockouts or the recipient of sustained severe punishment, or both, the Commission may revoke, suspend or refuse to renew his license after the boxer undergoes a medical examination by a physician under section 708 of the Athletic Code (relating to suspension and revocation for injuries). The Commission will notify a boxer in writing of its action. A boxer may request a hearing before the Commission to review the Commission’s action, under 2 Pa.C.S. § §  501—508 (relating to practice and procedure of Commonwealth agencies). The Commission will give full force and recognition within this Commonwealth to medical suspensions and retirements imposed upon boxers in other jurisdictions subject to the right of appeal of affected boxers to the Commission which shall seek and, if possible, obtain a complete record of the matter from the authority which imposed the original suspension or retirement before rendering a decision in any given case.

 (l)  If a boxer is legally knocked or falls from the ring during a contest, the boxer shall be allowed a maximum of 20 seconds to return within the ropes unassisted.

 (m)  If a boxer rises within the count of ten after being knocked down and then falls without being struck again, the referee shall resume the count at the point where it was stopped when the boxer rose.

 (n)  A protective regulation in this section or elsewhere in the Athletic Code or this part will not be waived or relaxed in any degree by a Commission official for a boxing contest in this Commonwealth. Championship contests will not fall within this prohibition.


   The provisions of this §  21.16 amended under the Athletic Code, 5 Pa.C.S. §  103(b)(1).


   The provisions of this §  21.16 adopted March 11, 1946; amended through November 1, 1966; amended April 10, 1992, effective April 11, 1992, 22 Pa.B. 1760; amended May 17, 2002, effective May 18, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 2443. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (242863) to (242864) and (251545) to (251546).

Cross References

   This section cited in 58 Pa. Code §  21.11 (relating to referees); 58 Pa. Code §  23.4 (relating to boxers); and 58 Pa. Code §  25.3 (relating to conduct of contests).

Notes of Decisions

   Referee Met Responsibility When Calling Knockout on Ten-Count Period

   Professional boxer, challenging decision of boxing referee who called knockout in boxing match, was entitled only to 10-count period and therefore referee fulfilled his responsibility when he ended boxing match; 5-minute recovery time, allowed when boxer is knocked down due to accidental foul or accident, was not applicable since referee did not call knockout the result of accidental foul or accident. Terry v. State Athletic Commission, 873 A.2d 19, 24 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005)

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