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Bowe back in court today, seeks boxing license
April 14, 2005

Former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe is scheduled to appear in Davidson County Chancery Court again today as he continues his fight for a boxing license in Tennessee.

The 37-year-old boxer first applied for a Tennessee license last October, but was turned down by the Department of Commerce and Insurance, which oversees boxing, because of concerns he'd suffered brain damage during a 43-bout career.

Those concerns stem from a 2000 sentencing hearing for Bowe, who pled guilty to interstate domestic violence after forcing his estranged wife into a car and traveling from North Carolina to Virginia in 1998.

In that hearing, Bowe's defense team used a handful of medical testimony ? as well as the opinions of Bowe's former manager, Rock Newman ? to convince the court Bowe's brain-damaged condition had in part led to the crime.

But Bowe has since argued that he was simply trying to avoid a jail sentence, and he's produced several new medical analyses which claim he's fit to step back into the ring.

Bowe's lawsuit to overturn Tennessee's ruling is what led to today's hearing.

Derek Crownover, one of Bowe's attorneys, said he believes Chancery Court judge Ellen Hobbs Lyle will either grant Bowe a license on the basis of the hearing, deny the license or remand the decision back to the state's boxing commission.

''If she grants the license or remands, we'll be happy with either of those outcomes,'' Crownover said. ''We'd just like to see this resolved fairly and accurately, and to allow Bowe to be examined by a neutral party. If they find he's brain damaged, then that's fine, he won't fight.''

The Bowe camp believes the Department of Commerce and Insurance is using Bowe's high-profile case as an example of how the state is trying to become more stringent regarding boxing license applicants.

''There's no question that there is a political agenda to crack down on rules that are just not there,'' Crownover said.

Bowe had hoped to fight in Memphis earlier this month, but the lengthy litigation process eliminated that possibility. His trainer, Nashville-based Jimmy Adams, said Bowe would still like to box in Tennessee in June or July.

Bowe fought a week ago in California, earning a split decision over journeyman Billy Zumbrun. He's also been licensed in Oklahoma, Missouri and Washington, D.C.

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