Do Tonya and Paula need a license to box?

Do Tonya and Paula need a license to box?

Do Tonya and Paula need a license to box?

Answers to your questions about the news.
March 13 2002 4:30 PM

Do Tonya and Paula Need a License To Box?

Illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty

After the Nevada, Colorado, and Texas state boxing commissions denied Mike Tyson a license to fight, Washington, D.C.'s unanimously granted him one. Do Tonya Harding and Paula Jones need a license to break each other's noses in their Celebrity Boxing bout tonight on Fox, 9 p.m.?

No. Public boxing events are regulated by commissions in each state. Fox is staging the Harding-Jones fight in California, where the State Athletic Commission ruled the match "strictly entertainment, not real boxing" and didn't require the other participants on the card—who include also The Partridge Family's Danny Bonaduce and The Brady Bunch's Barry Williams—to get licenses.

Some of the celebs might not have qualified for licenses. For $60 per applicant, the California State Athletic Commission does neurological tests, physical exams, and blood work. It also demands that anyone who hasn't boxed professionally before prove that she is capable of fighting—either with an amateur fight record or a sparring session performance. Would Tonya's left hook have impressed the judges? We won't know until tonight.


Explainer thanks Rob Lynch of the CaliforniaState Athletic Commission.

Kate Taylor is the arts reporter at the New York Sun and the editor of an anthology of essays about anorexia, Going Hungry, which will be published next spring.