Published on November 11, 2013 | by Danny Butterwick

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White-collar boxing’s fight against the authorities

A doctor gives a health check to a fighter on the ring

Doctors are at the ringside for white collar bouts in case of serious injury but there are no pre-fight health checks [photo by: Sgt Allan J. Grdovich]

White-collar boxing may be growing in popularity, but both the professional and amateur boxing authorities have condemned the sport as dangerous.

With regular shows being staged up and down the country in iconic venues such as York Hall and Upton Park, anyone from bankers to butchers are offered the chance to put their boxing skills to the test.

But with very little regulation in place, two of the major governing bodies have expressed concerns for the safety of fighters who take to the ring with limited experience.

Mad

Robert Smith, general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control [BBBC], recently told the BBC: “We think it’s mad. Boxing is fun, and boxers are some of the fittest athletes anywhere. But you cannot get away from the fact that it can be dangerous.”

Although the difference between white-collar boxing and its amateur counterpart may seem insignificant to the untrained eye, there are huge differences in terms of regulation and preparation.

Due to the money at stake in the professional game, fighters are looked after by a team of experts to ensure they are prepared and as safe as possible before entering the ring.

Even amateur boxers are trained all year round and given the best medical and physical preparation available to them, something the Amateur Boxing Association of England [ABAE] believe is lacking in white-collar boxing.

“We don’t recommend it,” said ABAE chairman, Keith Walters.

“It’s a physical sport [and] you’ve got to be looked after. To be honest, it’s not a sport I would recommend to everyone. It’s [white-collar boxing] obviously a money making thing.”

With high interest levels and events charging between £10 and £50 there is no surprise that venues are so keen to host white-collar events.

South London super club Ministry of Sound will be hosting ‘Judgment Day’ on November 27, an event that is being endorsed by highly regarded boxing establishment, Rooney’s Gym, London.

Safety

When questioned about the recent comments from the ABAE and BBBC comments regarding safety, a source from Rooney’s Gym said:

“It’s because there are no medicals in place. Basically as a professional fighter you need to go through an MRI brain scan and then a full medical.

The white-collar boxers don’t go through a full medical. On the night there’s a doctor there that gives them a physical examination and makes sure they’re healthy.”

Alongside the physical examination on the night, Rooney’s Gym also stated they are committed to ensure that the fights are fairly matched.

“Anyone can do white-collar boxing as long as the fight they are going to fight in is an even 50-50 fight.”

“We have a sparring day here before the event. Some of them don’t want to do it, some of them do, but it’s available for anyone that wants to do it.

“It’s about experiencing the experience without getting hurt.”

Grassroots

The sport has soared in popularity in recent years and Rooney’s believe that creating an almost grass-roots version of boxing was vital for people who want to box competitively around their own schedules. For some, boxing purely for fitness doesn’t fulfill the urges that come with it.

“The benefits of white-collar boxing are for people that have never ever competed as a boxer and probably won’t ever compete as a boxer.”

“You can do all the training you want in the gym but you can’t experience the adrenaline rush from the dressing room to the ring on fight night.”

 

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