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Dr Ching Kuo-Wu on Women's Boxing in Africa and other AIBA topics
by Michael O'Neill
December 3, 2014


(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 tablet)

A reminder also that in Jeju, Dr Wu spoke on the ‘headguards’ issue to Reuters news agency. Here were some of his comments on that occasion:

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 punches coming.

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 paramount concern.

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

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.

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.

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