Boxing is a controversial sport. Some say the risks out the way benefits and it should be banned. Statistically it appears safe. There are many many amateur events every weekend throughout the country and most insist on heavier gloves (more padding) and head guards.
In eight years of covering such events we have had one serious incident, which was caused by the fighter lying during their medical.
My concern around this sport is the apparent lack of regulation when it comes to medical cover. We’ve all heard about the bout involving Chris Eubank Jnr and Nick Blackwell. During the bout Nick sustained a blow to the head that caused a bleed within his brain resulting a hospital stay and being anaesthetised. These events attract massive new coverage simply because of who is involved.
Now we work very closely with Ultimate Boxing in Lowestoft, Matt Smith runs a tight ship and always has a doctor with a paramedic and EMT crew with a frontline ambulance available throughout the event. The doctor does the medicals and is on hand all evening and the ambulance crew are there to support the doctor and convey any time critically injured fighters to hospital care. Touch wood we’ve been fortunate to only have minor injuries.
Locally we have had the tragic death of a local polish fighter Kuba Moczyka 22 year taking part in his first fight. We were not involved in the this event and I have no information regarding the event or its management, so it’s not my place to discuss the how and whys of Kubas death. Kuba was knocked out during the bout and never regained consciousness. His family bravely donated his heart for transplant. However since the passing of Kuba we have had several calls from boxing clubs, promoters and events requiring medical cover. Some have never had any, some a single paramedic. There does not appear to be any hard and fast guidance and or rules on what should be present ringside, for the safety of the fighters. One club has a proper doctor lead team and 4 miles up the road another club has nothing.
Generally while the long terms effects of being punched in the head are up for debate, in the here and now it doesn’t seem to matter. I don’t know what Kuba s injuries were and it’s likely the presence of the best team in the world couldn’t have saved him but for some clubs to have nothing worries me. Please can fighters insist on proper cover and surely the governing bodies and promoters want to look after the fighters, then please get in professional ringside medics. Matt Smith has it right with his ringside medics others need to follow by his example. Boxing is a trilling and spectacular sport but we need to make it safe to prevent the loss of more lives.