(DEC 3) African TV network
‘SportsNews Africa” took the opportunity of interviewing AIBA
President Dr Ching Kuo-Wu during this year’s AIBA Women’s Elite
Championships in Jeju. Here courtesy of YOU TUBE and the
broadcaster, is that interview which we show in full since Dr Wu
covers subjects which have great significance in not only Africa
but also the rest of the World.
Subjects discussed include proposals like ‘No Headguards for
Men’, the current state of boxing in Africa and issues like
‘what now for women’s boxing after the great success of the 2012
Olympic Games in London. Further progress planned?
This was an interview conducted between Jeju and the African
broadcaster, to whom also our grateful thanks, so bear in mind
that due to the long distances the sound had to travel, there
are some occasional atmospheric noises and very brief breaks in
connection. (The You Tube video lasts just under 14minutes in
all so be aware of potential costs if you watch on a mobile or
A reminder also that in Jeju, Dr Wu spoke on the ‘headguards’
issue to Reuters news agency. Here were some of his comments on
As Reuters remind readers, the AIBA opted to remove headgear in
elite men's bouts last year based on medical statistics
suggesting the protective padding can cause more jarring to
boxers' heads and contribute to brain damage. Some boxers have
also complained that headgear makes it more difficult to see
Wu said this year's Commonwealth and Asian Games had shown the
AIBA's decision had been the right one.
"Commonwealth Games? No concussions. Asian Games? No
concussions," Wu told Reuters by telephone.
The decision was taken based on extensive research by the
association's own medical commission as well as six independent
organisations, the Taiwanese official added.
"The conclusion was that concussions dropped to almost zero
without the headguard," said Wu, adding that the research
included data 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."
Reuters again : 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 said that the overwhelming reaction from the amateur boxing
community had been positive and that safety was the AIBA's
"All the research that we have showed the safety of boxers is
not (negatively) affected by removing headguards," said the AIBA
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
However, Wu said 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 said.
"Once everything is proved... then we can start to have some
test and consider it in future for women."
Interesting questions arise as a result of these and similar
comments made by Dr Wu in Jeju.
This is a subject that WBAN – and we feel sure our readers –
will return to again and again in the weeks and months ahead. If
indeed all of the ‘evidence’ from Commonwealth and Asian Games
indicate it is safe for men to cease using headguards, why the
let us “wait and see” decision for women?
Will the AIBA make that NEW evidence available to its boxers and
coaches through their National Federations? That surely is the
minimum the boxers and their officials and coaches should
expect. Hopefully they will go even further and publish these
‘new’ findings in appropriate medical journals and for the
benefit of the boxing fraternity.