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AIBA Confirms "No Headgear For Male Boxers" as changes announced to 'boost popularity' of the sport
by Michael O'Neill
March 22, 2013

(MAR 22) Back in 2011, A.I.B.A President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, announced that the amateur sport’s Governing Body was examining ways of making the sport more attractive. Among the items under consideration were a new scoring system, the introduction of AIBA Pro Boxing and also a review of Rules and regulations including equipment used. Two years earlier than that the International Olympic Committee had approved the introduction of women’s boxing, which as we all know, proved to be one of the great success stories of the XXX Olympiad in London 2012.

Some of the proposed changes, we have already told you about here on womenboxing.com - yesterday in her U.S.A Boxing regular slot, Julie Goldsticker told us that at the forthcoming U.S National Elite Championships the women’s elite division will feature boxers in the 19-40 age range.

Previously the age limit had been 34.

Confirmation today that the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has unveiled its amended AIBA Technical Rules, AIBA Open Boxing (AOB) Competition Rules and World Series of Boxing (WSB) Competition Rules.

With the launch of the,  AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) program in 2011, AIBA now covers three major competition programs with AIBA Open Boxing (AOB), World Series of Boxing (WSB) and APB.

The Association tells us that ‘’AIBA has now separated its Technical Rules from the Competition Rules. All Technical aspects within the sport of boxing will now remain constant for all three AIBA programs. The Competition Rules, which can be amended as required, will be separate for each of the three programs in order to deliver clear guidelines for each competition.

The key strategy of the amendments is to set integrated rules for all three programs in regard to the Elite Men’s Competitions. After extensive studies on the aspects of boxers’ safety, boxers will now not wear headguards for all Elite Men competitions. This means that the AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013 will be the first major International event applying this new rule.

This decision has been made based on two statistical reviews by the AIBA Medical Commission (more than 2,000 bouts studied) and a study published by an independent physician-researcher in a recent publication in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (almost 30,000 bouts reviewed over the past 59 years). The AIBA data was presented at a joint meeting of International Federation Medical Commission Chairmen and the IOC Medical Commission. All available data indicated that the removal of headguards in Elite Men would result in a decreased number of concussions.

At its last meeting, the AIBA Medical Commission voted unanimously to support the removal of headguards as a safety measure for Elite Men Boxers.

Another important point is the launch of new scoring system. The new system used across all programs will be based on the Ten Point Must-System with five judges around the ring. Out of these five judges, only the scores of three of them, which will be randomly drawn by a computer, will be taken into account. Nobody will know until the end of the bout which judges’ scores will have been considered. In addition, scores will only be revealed at the end of each bout. 

“It is AIBA’s duty to bring the sport of boxing to the pinnacle of the Olympic Movement and I am convinced that these changes will critically contribute to the development of our beloved sport”, stated Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, AIBA President. “Decisions have not been made lightly and we will now put a lot of efforts in educating our National Member Federations, our officials, boxers and coaches, as well as boxing fans around the world”.

In an interview in the ‘Wall Street Journal’ earlier this week, U.S Boxing President, Dr Charles Butler, himself a former Physician and Surgeon was quoted thus : “Competitors do appear to be at greater risk of cuts without headgear but concussion is the injury of greater concern, Dr. Butler said.

"If you get a cut it will heal; if you break a bone it will heal," Dr. Butler said. "If you can't recognize your grandchildren, it's a disaster." Glove technology has improved to help reduce the impact of blows, he added.

The WSJ feature also said that ‘to help determine whether it has been beneficial, Dr. Butler studied boxers who competed in both AIBA-sanctioned events with headgear and the World Series of Boxing, which doesn't allow headgear.

After collecting data on some 15,000 boxer rounds, Dr. Butler found that in the 7,352 rounds that took place with boxers wearing headgear, the rate of concussion was 0.38%, compared with 0.17% per boxer per round in the 7,545 rounds without headgear’. 

There is also much speculation that another possible change in the Olympic boxing program is the expansion of the women’s events from three divisions of 12 fighters each to six of eight. In London 2012, women’s boxing was confined to three weight categories – flyweight (48 to 5l kilograms), lightweight (57 to 60) and welterweight (69 to 75) but for now that remains no more than a “wish”. It is worth bearing in mind though that Dr. Wu is a highly-respected and influential IOC Executive Board member, so it is quite likely that that the IOC will approve the AIBA’s final recommendations. 
If you are looking to get the latest boxing odds for the upcoming fight then make sure you check out the www.bwin.com site today. They have the latest odds for plenty of upcoming fights.

And finally, the respected “Philippine Star” tells us in a leading article that : ‘In a revolutionary step that could change the global landscape of the fight game, International Boxing Association (AIBA) president Dr. Wu Ching-Kuo said the other day he is opening the doors of the Olympics to ring icons like Manny Pacquiao with the age limit extended from 34 to 40 but to qualify, fighters must enlist in the soon-to-be-launched AIBA Professional Boxing (APB) where they become exclusive residents.”. According to ‘Philstar’ : “I hope to someday meet with Congressman Pacquiao and explain AIBA’s vision,” said Dr. Wu. “I would like to invite Congressman Pacquiao to join the APB and become eligible to qualify for the Olympics. He would be a rare exception. I wish to share AIBA’s dreams with Congressman Pacquiao who in turn, if he believes it worthwhile, could encourage fighters from all over the world to join in our crusade.”

As the old saying goes – “Watch this space” !

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