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Boxing: Statement from England Boxing and confirmation from IABA
by Michael O'Neill
January 25, 2017

(JAN 25) Following the grave concern expressed by parents and children as a result of the AIBA’s announcement on ‘no headgear’ for women and other categories of Boxer, some good news just through from two Associations in Europe, Boxing England and the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA).

An announcement from Boxing England on Wednesday night :

Statement from England Boxing, following new guidance from AIBA on use of headguards:

AIBA recently issued guidance to all National Federations granting them permission to amend AIBA Technical Rules on the use of headguards in national competitions, to reflect national laws and conditions, provided any changes do not diminish the rules, especially those regarding medical and safety requirements.

This guidance was discussed at a recent meeting of England Boxing’s Championships Technical Rules Referees & Judges Sub Committee where it was decided to maintain the current position on headguards whereby:

Senior (those aged 18 or over on 1 January each year) MALE elite boxers do not wear headguards in competition Headguards continue to be worn in competition by all female boxers and male boxers at youth, junior and school levels

This position is based on feedback from our members and analysis of current medical evidence which reveals that whilst there is a strong case for the removal of headguards amongst senior male boxers, there has not been enough medical research in this area to warrant making the same decision for all female boxers and male juniors, youths and schools boxers”.

A spokesman for the IABA in Dublin has also confirmed that the Irish association had already met and decided to do the same as England Boxing has now done.

Having campaigned strongly against the introduction of “no headgear” rule of 19th December, it is good to see at least two NGB’s immediately taking steps to ensure the health and welfare of their young boxers. Let us now hope that this advice will also be followed by both the AIBA themselves and EUBC and other Continental Confederations throughout 2017 and at very least until there are detailed reports made available to the public especially boxers,coaches and parents outlining any contrary findings by the AIBA.

We now await similar news from other countries such as Canada (who have always taken a keen interest in boxers welfare), USA Boxing and Australia and all countries who believe that safety must come before financial considerations.

Insisting on ‘no headgear’ for all left the AIBA in the position of being seen as a very arrogant sporting organisation that appeared to not take into account the wishes of those whose participation in the sport ensures the very existence of the AIBA and its associated NGBs.

This also shows that pressure from parents and media organisations like ours , do help to ensure that unreasonable risks are not taken or new rules pushed through without proper consultation with boxers, coaches, parents and ALL sections of the medical profession.

Make no mistake though but the AIBA almost certainly will continue to pursue a “no headgear” for all rule in 2018 so this is but a ‘temporary reprieve’ so it remains the responsibility of each and every one of the 201 AIBA NGBs to satisfy themselves BEYOND any reasonable doubt that it is their DUTY to consult with ALL interested parties and not just GO AHEAD based on ‘secretive internal Executive Council meetings” many of which were even opposed by their own boxing commissions.

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