SAN ANTONIO -

A display of prowess in the boxing ring Monday night in San Antonio played to a national television audience and also put on display the powers of the state of Texas to regulate combative sports.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation is charged with making sure participants in combative sports like boxing are safe and that the contests are fair.
TDLR inspectors were there when the fighters weighed in before the fights on Sunday.

They watched on Monday as combatants' hands were wrapped before their bouts, making sure gauze and tape were applied correctly.

TDLR inspector Bobby Rangel said tape can only be used to a certain point on the hand and that the wrapping can only be so thick.

"Once the gauze is put in place then they can tape it,” Rangel said. “It's for safety. It's for the safety of the fighter."

Other inspectors for the agency provide scrutiny in other areas of the sport.
Before fighters even enter the ring, doctors working with the state give each fighter a pre-fight physical to make sure they are healthy.

For eight years, Dr. Dawn Rudd has been a combative sporting ringside physician for the state at boxing matches across Texas and said the pre-fight physical is fairly rigorous.

“We look to make sure that their pupils react evenly and equally,” Rudd said. “If they can move everything, if they have full range of motion of their spine, of their knees, we look for that. We ask them questions about head injuries, headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, if they take any medications and then we always check their blood pressure and their heart rate.”

TDLR Spokeswoman Susan Stanford said the state makes sure ambulances are on hand at every event, that the fighters are evenly matched and that nothing goes wrong during the fight.

"If our inspector, our lead inspector, sees something unusual happening in the ring he can stop the fight then and there," Stanford said.

One reason a fight can be stopped is for lack of an ambulance.

“If one does have to take a contestant to the hospital the fight has to stop,” Stanford said. “We will not continue with the fight unless we have an ambulance on site.”

As many as three or four doctors also watch the fight, noting when fighters absorb blows and watching to see if their health is in danger.

"When you're the ringside physician you're not actually spectating the fight,” Rudd said. “You're looking at your specific fighter. How that person's moving, are they blinking the same as they were in the round before, are they breathing OK?"

The fight promoter pays for all this. Mike Battah of Leija-Battah Promotions said it is a cost of doing business.

"Of course you need the medicals there, of course you need a ref, of course you need the judges," Battah said. “So it's all necessary.”

And the fighters and fans need the state to make sure everything is fair and safe in a sport known for being rough.

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