(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.
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
"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
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
"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
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
“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 email@example.com or our
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