It’s been a while since we had a President named Ford. No, this isn’t a throwback to the 1970’s, Duane Ford’s election as President of the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) brings with it promises of greater involvement for its officials while at the same time seeking to restore credibility and respect by raising the standards for its judges and referees. Whereas Franklin Roosevelt promised a “New Deal” upon his election as President in 1932, Ford’s presidency hopes to establish a “New Era” for the NABF.
As one of the most prolific boxing judges for the past thirty years, who better than Duane Ford to usher in an era of higher standards and accountability for boxing officials. Although living and working in Las Vegas as an active member of the Nevada State Athletic Commission (as well as its former Chairman), Ford has judged throughout the world working world title fights in such countries as Japan, Poland, Germany, Mexico, Canada, Panama, Thailand, South Korea, France, and the United Kingdom.
During his career as an official, Duane Ford has been ringside judging some of the most exciting title fights in boxing history. His judging resume includes such fights as Sugar Ray Leonard – Thomas Hearns I (1981); Salvador Sanchez – Wilfredo Gomez (1981); Larry Holmes – Gerry Cooney (1982); George Foreman – Michael Moorer (1994); and Evander Holyfield – Mike Tyson II aka “the Bite Fight” (1997); and Shane Mosley – Oscar De La Hoya II (2003).
Like many of us, Ford first became interested in boxing through his father back in the days when listening to the radio was the only way to “watch” the big fights of the day. Duane’s father, a hard working farmer and railroad worker, instilled in him a strong work ethic. The values passed along from father to son helped Duane to run a successful insurance business in Las Vegas. Duane’s love of the sport of boxing eventually led to friendships with some members of the boxing commission. He started off as a ringside timekeeper which eventually led to his career as a professional judge and now to the Presidency of the largest and most successful regional affiliation of the World Boxing Council (WBC).
In addition to his unmatched career as a boxing judge, Duane Ford has also been the lead trainer for the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) for certifying other professional judges. He has traveled the world presenting training seminars for aspiring ring officials. Many younger judges owe their start to the training that they received from Duane Ford.
In a way, you can now say that Duane Ford’s career in the “squared circle” has now come full circle: from timekeeper to judge to President of a major boxing organization. With the rest of his cabinet now set in terms of the Executive Board and the rest of the committees now in place, Ford has pledged to remain accessible to all NABF members should questions or issues arise. Like all newly elected Presidents, his inspired and energetic speech at the recent NABF convention in Reno brings with it renewed hope of improvement, quality and credibility to the sport of boxing.