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The 2009 AAPRP Award banquet

By: Emily Harney
Photography By: Emily Harney

The American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians (AAPRP) concluded their annual Medical Seminar on Ringside Safety on October 17th at the Mohegan Sun Resort Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Established in 1997, the American AAPRP was created to develop medical protocols and guidelines to insure the safety and protection of professional boxers and MMA athletes.

The annual gathering is one of the organizations most important events of the year.  Leading ringside physicians, fighters, trainers, managers, promoters, commissioners and media from around the world were in attendance. The meeting, which began on Thursday, October 15th, included lectures and presentations by the most experienced and respected ringside officials in boxing and mixed martial arts. Some of the topics at this year’s conference included The Art of Ringside Medicine, a Commissioners Forum (Medical Issues in Approving Fights) and an update on one the most anticipated aspects of boxing, the Medical Data Bank.

After several days of seminars on boxing and MMA ringside safety, Dr. Michael Schwartz and the board of directors at AAPRP honored some of boxing worlds finest with an awards banquet.

The Ringside Physician of the Year was awarded to Dr. Anthony Alessi, a neurologist from Norwich, CT.  Dr. Alessi is a ringside physician for the Connecticut State Boxing Commission and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Mohegan Tribe.  His efforts to help improve the safety of the sport of boxing are well-known throughout the New England area.

Dr. Alessi was in the forefront of revising the Connecticut state guidelines to require more stringent neurological evaluation before allowing an athlete to participate in a boxing event.  Additionally, Dr. Alessi lectures and writes a weekly column on various topics related to sports and neurology.

I have been ringside as a photographer alongside Dr. Alessi for dozens of boxing events from where I have witnessed him performing his post with compassion, always having the fighter’s best interest at heart.

"Thank you to Dr. Schwartz and the AAPRP for this award,” stated Dr. Alessi upon receiving his award.  “It is great to be part of the 'Brotherhood' that boxing is!"

New York State Athletic Commissioner Melvina Lathan was recognized as the Administrator of the Year.  Lathan outlined that her objective since becoming the Chairwoman of the New York State Athletic Commission sixteen months ago has been "To continue protecting the health, safety and welfare of the participants.  "Thank you to my team for all that you do,” said Lathan expressing her gratitude to her colleagues at the commission.  “This is for you! This is for my great state of New York!"

Harold Lederman deservedly took home the Media Award in Ringside Safety.  Lederman is recognized worldwide as a person who has done a great deal for the sport of boxing and continues to significantly contribute to the image of boxing by educating the public about medical and safety issues related to boxing.

Also honored were referee Arthur Mecante, Sr. who was awarded the John Burns Memorial “Lifetime achievement Award,” Congressman Peter King who was recognized with the Greg Page Memorial “Outstanding Contribution to Boxing Award,” and Dr. Patricio Reyes as the Distinguished Educator of the Year.

In attendance at this year’s award dinner were trainer and boxing commentator Emanuel Steward, plus boxers John "The Quiet Man" Ruiz, Travis Simms, Tarvis Simms, Brian Adams, Pauli Malignaggi, Delvin Rodriguez, John Scully and Sadam Ali.

For more information on the AAPRP go to

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