MONDAY, March 3rd 2003, 8:00 PM
Sanctioning For Safety...
Not For Profit!
MORE Mis-Management Of Fighters Health!
Amateur Fighter Gets KO'ed Twice in 1 Week!
Last week there were some e-mails going around about another so called kickboxing sanctioning body named the IKC based out of the South East, USA. Behind the organization is a Pro Boxer in Louisiana named James Johnson (Right) who "Claims" to have won 2 legit boxing titles (IBF Intercontinental Welterweight Title yet he is not in the top 15 of the official IBF Rankings & The WBF America' s Welterweight Title - Where he is not in the top 10 in their rankings either.). Johnson has never fought as a kickboxer, been a kickboxing official or even promoted "1" kickboxing event before in his life. However, he claims to be more than qualified to run a kickboxing sanctioning body. Several IKF officials shared in e-mail being past between the IKF here, Johnson and the Louisiana State Boxing Commission. Why did we get involved? Mainly because Johnson was telling people we recommended he call them, as if we endorsed his organization and his event. We didn't and we don't!
Johnson wanted to get immediate recognition for his new start-up IKC since he knew NOTHING of the Kickboxing game. However, his choice of marketing backfired on him. In e-mails he wrote, and we quote, "This organization was started by Daryl Peoples with the IBF (Boxing Organization) and the Louisiana State Athletic Commission." He also claimed that we here at the IKF referred several IKF ranked fighters to him as well, which we never did. It was obvious he was trying to claim endorsements from people who had nothing to do with him.
Johnson had booked 3 amateur fighters to fight their first pro fight on his event. Why was this a problem? Because they were all booked for 12 round PRO World Title Bouts! It was a disgrace to kickboxing as well as the fans who paid money for a ticket to Johnson's PRO event who THOUGHT they were going to see 4 TRUE World Contending Professional Kickboxers. Simply put, the sport of Kickboxing and those fans were ROBBED! After several of these e-mails being past and several phone calls to the Louisiana State Boxing Commissioners and even the Boxing organizations he claims to hold titles in, we found out more about Johnson and his credibility went to ZERO as a promoter, kickboxing official and even as a Pro Boxing Champion. In the end, after our investigating, we thought it was all over... That is until we get an e-mail from another Louisiana Promoter, Joe Ancona today.
In Ancona's e-mail, he reports that a fighter we've known here with the IKF named Omar Ballard from Columbus, Mississippi, USA fought on his February 15th event, "BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS". Some of you may know Ancona as well. He's the New Orleans Louisiana, USA Promoter who sent out mass e-mails claiming that the IKF and the ISCF were sanctioning his events. Well, we never sanctioned ANY! ?He would have continued doing so if not for a "Reply To All" mass return mail we sent out announcing that his claims were not true. Back to Johnson...
According to Ancona, Ballard fought a fighter named Calvin Hotard from LaPlace, Louisiana, USA. From Ancona's report, Hotard defeated Ballard by KO! Now here is where we have a problem. "ONE WEEK LATER" this IKC group and James Johnson booked Ballard for his FIRST PRO FIGHT on February 21st in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA. But it gets better. The fight Johnson booked him for (In his first pro fight) was a 12 round IKC World Title Fight! Oh but it gets better yet... In THAT BOUT, Ballard was Knocked Out AGAIN only 1 week after being stopped on Ancona's event.
We often wonder why some promoters choose to start their own sanctioning body. Here we see that Johnson did so just so he could promote (His FIRST Kickboxing Event) what the fans THOUGHT were "TWO" Pro Kickboxing World Title Bouts! It's people like Johnson who continue to destroy our sport while organizations like the IKF as well as the ISCF for Mixed Martial Arts (The ONLY non promoting - neutral sanctioning body for MMA in the world today) work HARD to assure fighter safety as well as sanction Legitimate Title Bouts. What was Johnson's response to all this when we confronted him through an e-mail? Let us quote his response to our FIRST Mail: (Spelling errors left in)
"If that is how you feel then so be it. I startted a
legitimate organization. I have covered all of my actions. I am a licensed
promoter and profiessional fighter with several state athletic commissions. I
have also registered the IKC with the Louisiana Secretary of State. As for your
amateur rankings. That is your organization and you should see to it-not mine. I
can and will grow the IKC. I am a legitimate champion. I have payed my dues so
as far as I am concerned-I am qualified! I have promoted an IBF & WBF boxing
match in which I performed and was victorious. You say that our ref counted as a
fighter was down. I was sitting ringside with the LA athletic commissioner and
we both saw Ballard hit several times on his way down, but not once was he hit
down as he was then counted out. Our ref has refereed about a dozen PKA fights
so his qualifications have been met as far as we are concerned. As for using
your organization name-that in fact was never brought up. If for some reason you
have taken any of this reply the wrong way-I do apoligize. You must remember
that I am a fighter-not a runner. If I am going to be accused of anything that I
have done or not done-you can bank on me dealing with it....
"Gentleman" James Johnson
again-my IKC is and will continue to be the kickboxing organization of the South."
From his response, we thought, since he's "a fighter-not a runner" we decided to investigate some of his claims. So we contacted several people and heard quite a bit about this guy. We started with Mr. Fielder Lewis, (337 828-7154) Chairman of the Louisiana State Boxing Commission who said they had NOTHING to do with his IKC Organization. He told us he had told Johnson he needed to work with a Certified Sanctioning Body for kickboxing to oversee his events if he wanted to promote kickboxing in Louisiana. Well heck, all Johnson did after this was put some letters together... IKC... Lewis referred us to Mr. Buddy Embanato, (318 801-2999) the Louisiana Boxing Event Coordinator.
We also contacted Mr. Alvin Topham, (337 304-0836) the state commissioner that was at Johnson's February 21st fight. In this bout, witnesses informed us that Ballard was dropped to the ring floor from a low kick to the groin. While down, he was hit AGAIN and dropped. From there, the referee (Who Johnson informed us was well qualified since he had done "12" PKA fights years ago...wow... only 12 fights...Ya, WELL qualified!) counted him out. This of course awarded Johnson's fighter his IKC Pro World Title. The terrible actions of the Referee were confirmed by the Louisiana State Athletic Commission that was in attendance. He confirmed the referee made a bad call when Ballard was punched while on one knee. In his own words he told us, "He was not good at all and made several mistakes throughout the night." However he added, there was no IKC Representative to over-rule the call or accept any protest.
We won't say who but we were told by one of the Louisiana Boxing Commissioners that Johnson never even promoted a Boxing event and the guys he fought to win his IBF and WBF Titles had a records of something like 2-35. (Confirmed by FIGHT FAX, INC, 590 South Lenola Road, PMB 239 Maple Shade, NJ 08052-1602, 856-638-0505, fax-856-231-1788)
We went a step farther and contacted Mr. Daryl Peoples of the IBF (973 414-0307). He was clear that he didn't know Johnson very well to work with him on anything and had NOTHING to do with his IKC Organization. Several of these guys went on to tell us how terrible a boxer Johnson is. So OK, we proved the guy can't box, but our concern is the SAFETY of the fighters here!
These fights were only 1 week apart. It's clear Johnson made a matchmakers error in putting a first time amateur into a 12 round PRO bout. Not only did he jeopardize these fighters safety but he CHEATED true kickboxing fans. If any of you reading this were there, we suggest you go get your money back. YOU WERE ROBBED!
This is what happens in our sport. Was Johnson's senseless act an attempt to make Pro Kickboxers look like amateurs as compared to PRO BOXERS? So when the fans think those Kickboxers fighting for a PRO Kickboxing World Title are not very good for QUALIFIED PROS to fight for a World Title, the first thing they say is "Man, Boxing has a lot better fighters fighting for World Titles. They must just let ANYONE do it in Kickboxing." It's clear to us in Kickboxing that guys like Johnson are hurting EVERYONE in Kickboxing by doing this! Everyone who works hard in making our sport LEGIT and FAR MORE EXCITING THAN BOXING!
In one of his next response e-mails Johnson said: "this kickboxing thing has gotten all carried away and is not worth all of the hassle. I will continue to promote boxing until we feel kickboxing is more recognized."
"More recognized?" Well with quality promoters like Johnson out there, we may have to wait for that. How many other promoters have their own sanctioning bodies? How many more don't even sanction at all? Who is looking out for these fighters? WHO cares for their safety? It's clear Ballard as well as his trainer (O. Miller) didn't care as well. You would think after reading or hearing about past deaths in kickboxing (Although only 2, it's 2 too many...) his trainer would have NEVER even booked his fights so close let alone let him fight his first pro fight, a 12 round bout, 1 week after being stopped on another show...
Consider this news a warning to any trainer out there such as Ballards who could obviously care less for his fighters safety. Having been stopped by TKO/KO only 1 week before, it's clear that he kept this fight for the money! Money must have been worth more than his fighters life. Maybe Ballard felt fine and maybe he didn't even know about taking time off after a knockout. However, his trainer SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!
So in the end, there is a need for sanctioning, as long as it is done by a credibly organization that is willing to step up and oversee fighters safety and assure that todays kickboxing fight fans get what they THINK or are told they are paying for. We make a lot of noise here at the IKF about the other things that make us stand above other organizations such as updated Pro "AND" Amateur Rankings, daily news, upcoming events list, past champions info and much more. But the foundation of any true sanctioning body as it is with the IKF and ISCF is to assure the safety and regulate the rules of those who participate in our sport. Next time you go to an event, don't be afraid to question WHO is sanctioning the event? as well as "Who is the sanctioning organizations representative?" you will need to know who to go to if you have an issue about something. A sanctioning body is there to protect you as a fighter and to assure qualified officials are there to oversee and work your event and assure your safety and best interest. And finally...
"Sanctioning Bodies DO NOT PROMOTE!
It's a conflict of interest!"
Good luck in the fight Game... And
"Who's there FOR YOU!"
The IKC was defunct within a few months of this incident...
There have been other kickboxing organizations and promotions with the initials IKC since Johnson's organization failed.
In 2005, Johnson was in the "ODD" press again when he said he was going to box a WOMAN... Read it here...
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