Nevada panel to probe boxing deaths

Updated: September 23, 2005, 5:37 PM ET
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- Nevada boxing officials have formed a panel to look into the death this week of Leavander Johnson, as well as other ring injuries within the past three years.

The head of the Nevada State Athletic Commission said the panel -- composed of three former commission chairmen, a state assemblyman and a doctor -- will study recent injuries in the ring and try to come up with ways to make the sport safer.

"We want to make absolutely sure our procedures and protocols reflect the best possible thinking regarding the health and safety of fighters while in the ring," said commission chairman Raymond Avansino.

Former chairman Sig Rogich will serve as chairman of the panel. Avansino asked the committee to meet within 30 days and report findings to him by April 1, 2006.

The panel was formed in the wake of Johnson's death Thursday, five days after he was seriously injured in a lightweight title fight at the MGM Grand hotel-casino. His death was the sixth in the ring in Las Vegas since 1994. In the last four months, two boxers have died and two others had brain injuries.

Avansino said the committee will discuss procedures involving fight stoppages, and will consider new medical technologies and better equipment to protect fighters.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press