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Hall adds women's categories, shorter process

The International Boxing Hall of Fame on Tuesday unveiled various amendments to its balloting procedures, including the creation of two women's categories and the reduction of time a boxer has to be retired to appear on the ballot from five years to three years.

The changes, approved by the Hall of Fame's board of directors, will take effect for the 2020 election process. Voting, done by around 200 members of the Boxing Writers Association of America and a panel of historians, will take place in December with results announced in early 2020.

The 31st annual induction ceremony is scheduled for June 14 at the shrine in Canastota, New York.

"After 30 years of honoring the best in the sport of boxing, the Hall of Fame's goal is to maintain the process that bestows boxing's highest honor to those who have excelled in the sweet science," Hall of Fame executive director Edward Brophy said.

The Hall of Fame, which already inducts people in the modern boxer, old-timer, pioneer, non-participant and observer categories, established two women's categories: a modern category for female boxers whose last bout came no earlier than 1989 and a trailblazer category for female boxers whose last bout came no later than 1988.

Boxers who had fought for five years were previously eligible to be on the ballot for the first time, but that requirement has been reduced to three years.

"Modern technology such as YouTube, Boxrec and other resources allow voters to conduct the most comprehensive research into boxers' careers in history," the Hall of Fame said in its explanation. "With these tools, voters are better able to analyze and evaluate boxers' careers as well as put their accomplishments in historical perspective with far more efficiency. Thus, the Hall of Fame has amended the retirement period."

Typically, the top three vote getters in the modern category are elected without any requirement of a specific percentage threshold of votes, such as is required by the baseball Hall of Fame's 75 percent. However, the boxing Hall of Fame will now automatically induct any fighter who reaches 80 percent, although others could still be elected if they are in the top three without reaching that threshold, meaning a class could exceed three modern boxers.

Further, in the non-participant and observer categories, if a nominee has been on the ballot for at least 10 consecutive years and has not been elected, the nominee will be dropped from the ballot. Following a one-year hiatus, the former nominee is eligible for future placement on the ballot, but it is not guaranteed.