About the BWAA
Boxing Writers Association of America
The object, goal and purpose of the Boxing
Writers Association of America is to foster
the highest professional and ethical standards
in boxing journalism, both print and electronic,
and to promote better working conditions
for those who cover and report on the sport.
The BWAA is a natural outgrowth of
born in February 1926 in a midtown
hotel and christened the Boxing Writers
of Greater New York. The group was
to improve conditions at boxing shows
New York writers and their visiting
and, in a general sense, to enhance
as a whole.
Of the seven founding fathers of the
many came from newspapers long vanished
the city's newsstands: The New York
Evening World, American, Evening Graphic
and the Bronx Home News.
Some of those Jazz Age journalists
among the BWAA's pioneers, however,
on to become famous in allied fields
Damon Runyon and Paul Gallico graduated
short-story and script writing. Ed
of the Graphic later became an internationally
famous columnist for the New York Daily
and a major television personality.
stayed closer to home and went on to
The Ring magazine.
Shortly after the founding of the BWAA's
forerunner, the group decided to stage
dinner to celebrate the achievements
within boxing, with the hope that the
would become an annual event. It did
is still running strong today.
The annual awards dinner quickly became
cornerstone of the BWAA's yearly activities
and its principal source of revenue.
hotel hopping for several years, the
found a permanent home for the dinner,
the repeal of Prohibition, at the famed
Brewery on the upper Eastside of New
It was there that the BWAA first presented
an award of its own. The year was 1938
the award was named the Edward J. Neil
in honor of one of its founding fathers,
an Associated Press sports reporter
killed on assignment while covering
The original deed of the award stated
it be given to "an individual
the most for boxing in the previous
The first honoree was former heavyweight
champion Jack Dempsey, who had been
for several years. Gradually, the award
to those voted Fighter of the Year.
Two years later, the James J. Walker
was established in honor of the former
York mayor and state legislator who
sponsored the law that saved professional
boxing in New York. The award is for
and meritorious service to boxing.
The BWAA finally got around to honoring
own in 1972 with the Nat Fleischer
for excellence in boxing journalism,
to honor the memory of one of the BWAA's
founding fathers. Additional awards
been established to recognize accomplishments
in the sport and to preserve the memory
some of its most notable members.
The BWAA plays a significant role in the
enshrinment of new members of the International
Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y. Full
members of the BWAA are polled for their
insight on each year's pool of eligible fighters.
The results heavily influence each class
The annual writing contest, known as
Barney Awards in honor of the late
of the BWAA Barney Nagler, was started
BWAA president Bernard Fernandez in
The Barneys are open to all BWAA members
who had stories published in the calendar
year running Jan. 1 through Dec. 31.
photography contest was added in 2004.
Annual dues for membership are $40,
sum to be determined by a vote of the
and board of directors, for both full
associate membership. Dues should be
upon submission of a member's end-of-the-year
Today, with members nationwide and from several countries,
the BWAA has moved into the 21st century representing print and online journalists. Qualified journalists interested
in joining should see our "Members" page.