Monday, July 13, 2009

Arizona Boxing Commission's P-1 Visa Requirement Undermines the Sport of Boxing in the State

As we reported earlier, the Arizona Boxing Commission explicitly requires acquisition of a P-1 visa before it will grant permission to an international boxer to fight within the state. According to a recent article in the Arizona-based La Estrella de Tucsón, this new requirement has been severely detrimental to the sport of boxing in the state.

The visa requirement happened at a bad time for the boxing world. Coupled with the country’s economic situation, it has lead to a decline in the frequency of fights.

“They hit us at the same time,” says Montaño, who estimates that the number of boxing matches in the state has dropped considerably – by about 70 percent.

Many of the professional boxers who compete in Arizona hail from Mexico. Since the P-1 visa requires an applying athlete to be "internationally recognized," it is often difficult for lesser-known boxers to receive approval. The standards for P-1 visas are not always easy to meet, especially when the applicant has not achieved a high degree of success, and the costs involved in acquiring such a visa are invariably much higher than a B-1/B-2 visitors visa. Even those boxers who successfully acquire a P-1 visa have been inconvenienced by the policy shift by the Arizona Boxing Commission. For instance, David "The Destroyer" López has voiced his concern that preparing for an opponent has become difficult because visa challenges often lead to last-minute changes on the fight card. Many Mexican boxers and their promoters are now seeking to hold their fights in venues outside of Arizona that would not explicitly condition the issuance of a boxing license on a P-1 visa.

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