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AIBA Congress Recommends 'No Headguards For Males BUT Women must wait . WHY we ask? Your views?
by Michael O'Neill
November 15, 2014
Your Comments


(NOV 15) One of the key decisions taken at this year’s AIBA Annual Congress in Jeju, was that on the basis of available medical evidence, headguards will not be required by men in future.

Nonetheless until further studies take place and the result of the men’s experiment is known, women MUST continue using them. Odd?

The AIBA decision in respect of the men was taken after checks concerning injuries in the recent Commonwealths and later the Asian Games in Incheon.

Here is what AIBA President, Dr Ching-Kuo Wu had to say to Reuters’ Peter Rutherford earlier this week.

"Commonwealth Games? No concussions. Asian Games? No concussions," Wu informed Reuters.

Dr Wu told the news agency that the decision had been taken as a result of recent extensive research undertaken by the organisation’s own medical commission (which is headed by Chairman Dr Charles Butler of the United States.

"The conclusion was that concussions dropped to almost zero without the headguard," according to President Wu, who added that the AIBA’s original data had been compiled from more than 30,000 bouts.

"People felt that wearing headgear makes everything safe, so why were there more concussions?

"The problem was that it led to boxers not thinking to protect their heads, so when they were defending they didn't care so much about getting hit in the head.

"By removing headgear, it has changed the way boxers and coaches prepare, it has changed tactics. Now you have to defend better, use good techniques to protect your head."

According to the Reuters feature, based on AIBA’s views, ‘fighters at this year's Commonwealth and Asian Games seemed at ease without the headgear, though the aggressive, unpolished nature of amateur boxing led to more facial cuts and bruises’.

Wu repeated that the overwhelming reaction from the amateur boxing community had been positive and that safety was the AIBA's paramount concern.

"All the research that we have showed the safety of boxers is not (negatively) affected by removing headguards," he said.

Women's professional boxing was stunned by the death of South African fighter Phindile Mwelase last month, after the 31-year-old slipped into a coma and died after being knocked out.

Wu told the news agency that ‘there had been no injuries at major women's amateur competitions and that headgear could be removed if data continued to back up safety statistics at the men's level’.

"We have to do this step by step," he added.

"Once everything is proved... then we can start to have some test and consider it in future for women."

Ireland’s four times World and London 2012 Olympic champion, Katie Taylor and her coach and Dad, Pete spoke to ‘Irish Times’ reporter Johnny Watterson who is covering the Women’s World championships in Jeju. Their thoughts are interesting and identical though at first glance they may seem slightly different.

As the ‘Irish Times’ reporter says, the debate continues as to why women must wait for further studies though the decision has already been taken that men’s headgear is no longer required. The discussion has also been taking place to the backdrop of a cream called Cavilon coming into the sport.

Originally developed to protect bed-ridden people from bed sores, Cavilon, according to Charles Butler, chairman of the AIBA Medical Commission, ‘significantly reduced the amount of cuts at the Asian Games.’ (Comment: women though did wear headguards in Incheon!)

Several layers are applied to a boxer’s face – AIBA recommended a minimum of three – before each bout. The cream forms a thin transparent film and provides a long lasting, durable barrier.

A philosophical Katie Taylor joked:

“If they come off, I’ll have to do something with my hair, shave it off. That’ll be a good look,”

“But I wouldn’t really worry about it when I’m in the ring. It would be quite different. Professional boxing is different to amateur boxing in that (in the ‘amateurs’) you have four or five fights within a week.

“Everyone is a high-tempo fight. It’s all go for three or four rounds whereas in a professional fight they are pacing themselves and they are not going in as heavy. I do clash heads quite a bit but you just don’t notice it with the head guards on.

“I don’t really think of stuff like that to be honest. Whatever the rules are I’ll go in and to be honest I don’t mind a new challenge. If it does end up going the three times three-minute rounds and the head guards off I’d welcome that.”

Dad and coach Pete, though with her every step of the way, took a tougher stance on the subject.

“If the lads are trying to fight without head gear and the girls are fighting with head gear, it’s not the same sport,” he says.

“If they think, for medical reasons, they take the head gear off for the boys then you have to take the head gear off for the girls because the girls are sometimes punching as hard as the boys. The lads would say that after sparring with Katie.”

For now, the debate is put on hold as the Eighth Edition of the AIBA Women’s World Elites (with headguards!) commences at the Halla Gymnasium in Jeju City Sunday when the draw takes place followed by the preliminaries in this year’s tournament.

What do you say re ‘head guards for men’ first off but ‘the women must wait’? As always your views are important to WBAN so don’t hesitate to let us know via wban100@aol.com or our Facebook pages or via Twitter @wbanbuzz

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