The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire

The Disqualification and Subsequent Medical Suspension of James Arnet Churn: Katherine Dunn

This Arnet Churn is an articulate and personable guy and an interesting although admittedly minor case. He turned forty on January 2, 1999. His record now is 7-24-1, 3 KO's.

Informed types say he was pegged as a tomato can by Ralph Citro back in the early 80's. According to Fight Fax records he campaigned mostly as a cruiserweight until he was "retired permanently" by the state of Illinois in August of 1986 after being KO'd in the first round by heavyweight Oliver McCall. Nonetheless, Churn fought again five months later in Nevada, where he stopped Mark Lee in the sixth round. Then he was absent from the ring for eleven years. Informed rumor has it that he was on an extended vacation at government expense during that time.

Churn resurfaced in 1998 in Portland. His first comeback bout was in Colorado in September. That match against Derrick Banks ended in a second round technical draw. Don't know the details.

On November 12,'98 he appeared against Will Hinton in Denver, Colorado. Will Hinton used his right hand to deck Churn twice. Eyewitness reports say Churn turtled up in a corner and did nothing. The ref didn't like Churn's responses when he got up the second time and stopped the bout at 1:57 of the first round. Churn was slapped with an "indefinite medical suspension."

A brief bureaucratic aside here--As you know, Colorado doesn't have a boxing commission. It has loose but generally well-intentioned oversight by an informal association of boxing people. As required by the federal Professional Boxing Safety Act, the group brings in regulation by a commission from another state whenever a show is staged in Colorado. For this November, '98 card the regulator was the Montana state boxing commission. So the "Indefinite Medical Suspension" was issued by Montana. Word is the regulators would have like to ban Churn from the sport in some way but decided the medical was the least likely to turn litigious.

One kink-- Colorado does not issue boxers licenses. You can fight there as long as you are licensed to box in any other state. Churn claimed he had a license from the state of Washington so they let him play in Colorado.

A week after his November appearance, I asked the Washington Department of Licensing whether Churn was licensed in that state. Washington said NO. The Department said at that time that Churn had turned in part of a license application but had not yet submitted his medical examination reports and so was not licensed.

Fight Fax listed the medical suspension immediately. The Professional Boxing Safety Act gives state regulators leeway to decide whether to honor another states' administrative suspensions, but it requires all states to honor each others' medical suspensions. Still, Churn was apparently licensed and permitted to box in Tacoma on January 30, 99. Surprisingly, Churn actually went the four round distance and lost a decision to Willie Chapman of Utah on that card. Churn fought on March 12 in Rochester, WA, also losing a unanimous decision in four. On the March 20 undercard in Tacoma, Churn seems to have reverted to his more usual form.

The story I'm hearing on that fight goes that Churn was a short notice substitute. He was promised a thousand dollars to fill in on that four-rounder. After the fight the promoter apparently wanted to pay him only $900 because of his lackluster performance and failure to appear properly equipped. Churn was belly-aching about it.

Meanwhile, Dr. Peter Marsh, the ringside physician who discovered Churn's equipment shortcomings, took a look at Churn's paper work and declared these "irregularities" in the medical forms. The Department decided to hit him with the "Indefinite Medical Suspension". Churn had to sign the suspension form, acknowledging it. He didn't want to, knowing it would prevent him from fighting elsewhere. He was told, 'sign or you don't get paid.' He signed.

So what was "Irregular"? I have asked the Department of Licensing and am waiting for a reply. Medical topics are normally confidential so I won't be surprised if I get no answer. Certainly Churn had been squirreling around with medical forms and some questionable medical types down in his hometown of Portland for a while--last I heard he'd come up with a NOTE from some doctor stating that Churn was "OK to fight," with no details, no tests run, and no state medical form actually filled out. Maybe that's what Dr. Marsh found. Maybe it was something else entirely.

The unsubstantiated vine says Churn has some genuine blood pressure problems.

From Katherine Dunn

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