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Monday, 18 December, 2000, 10:08 GMT
Should boxing be banned?
Paul Ingle suffers at the hands of Mbulelo Botile
Boxing's latest horrific injury saw Paul Ingle collapse after losing his IBF featherweight title to South African Mbulelo Botile in Sheffield on Saturday.

Ingle is still in a critical condition after surgeons operated to remove a blood clot from his brain.

The incident is the latest in the long list of horrific injuries suffered by professional boxers.

Is it time for the sport as a whole to be banned?

Tell us what you think. HAVE YOUR SAY

Ingle is merely the latest victim of a sport that continues to kill and injure its participants.

He is as high profile a victim as Gerald McClellan, Bradley Stone, Michael Watson and Rod Douglas.

All of these men were fine athletes cut down in their prime.

But many within the boxing fraternity believe that the sport's excitement and drama is built on the inherent risks that fighters take.

Even former boxer Spencer Oliver, whose fighting career was ended after suffering similar injuries to that of Ingle, still believes that the sport should continue in its current fashion.

MP Paul Flynn disagrees. He intends to present a bill banning blows to the head in boxing and similar sports to parliament in 2001.

But does this action go far enough?

Or are there other measures you'd like to see implemented that can make it safer?

Should the sport be banned once and for all?

Tell us what you think.

Should boxing be banned? HAVE YOUR SAY


The injury to Paul Ingle although tragic is accepted as a risk when someone participates in boxing. All of the participants and fans know this. It is not the place of the British Medical Association to decide upon the morals of society in cases such as this, where all participants participate of their own free will. When society decides that boxing has become morally unacceptable, participation and interest will drop to a point where it is no longer able to financially sustain itself. When this occurs boxing will die out. Until this time it would be better for the medical assosiation to focus on helping to improve safety.
Andrew Poulton, England

Ban blows to neck and above. If they wish to damage themselves then, let them do so, but make them take out personal insurance to contend with their injuries, and not use state money or state hospitals.
Penelope Williamson, England

A complete ban on boxing will never be enforced. Concentration should be placed on medical safety around the ring, and regular medical checks for boxers. Perhaps the introduction of head protection may be a compromise, as in amateur boxing.
Brian Graham, England

I don't think boxing should be banned, similarly I don't think the rounds should be shortened but I think boxers should be made to fight at their natural body weight They have random drug tests so why can't they have random weight tests?
Kelvin, England

With perhaps the exception of darts, there are very few sports that do not involve risk taking. Part of the excitement of any sport is to push the limits of human physical endeavour. When that is attempted there will always be those who will push them too far and no amount of legislation in the world will stop that, it is part and parcel of the competitive nature of human beings. Perhaps more safe guards could be put in place, but banning will not succeed. Boxing is exciting and if properly controlled, probably a lot safer than crossing the street.
Barrie Harmsworth, U.A.E


Last year 3 men died whilst boxing; 5 people died showjumping
  Gerry, Scotland

A boxer knows the risks he faces when he steps into the ring. He accepts them as part and parcel of his trade, and takes the rewards that are commensurate with such risks. There is far too much nannying and meddling in people's lives by self-appointed guardians of moral and physical truths as it is, without letting them take away the only sport that keeps some of its primal, and deeply human, edge. If they remove the right of a child from some pitiless ghetto to fight for his freedom and for his future, then they are effectively denying them the right to live as they choose. Would that they spent more time concentrating on the thousands of people who are left senseless in the streets by unprovoked attacks of thuggery and greed.
Paul Carpenter, UK

I don't think that banning boxing is any more well advised than banning fencing, for example, a sport in which the goal is to strike a "fatal blow" to one's opponent. However, in fencing, there are probably no serious injuries due to the precautions taken to protect the combatants from actual fatality. One way to reduce the injury rate in boxing is to reduce the number of rounds to no more than 8 for a professional fight and 5 for an amateur fight. Headgear could be required (e.g., American football, Tae Kwon Do, etc.). Winning on points rather than a KO or TKO should be encouraged. Let's not seriously consider banning a sport simply because it has the potential for injury (should we also ban car racing because it can result in fatalities?).
Gary L, USA

The argument that boxers make their own choices about whether or not to go into the sport - and therefore that there is no need to ban such a "voluntary" activity - is perhaps too simplistic. Many young boxers enter the ring as a way out of life on the streets, in areas of social decline, faced with few prospects but to make it big in boxing - in fact, this is a message that has been made again today in favour of boxing. Surely it would be better to improve other opportunities for young people, such as education, skills training etc. as a more positive alternative to battering one another half to death under the name of sport ?
Eddie, Switzerland

Like some of your other commentators I think the best future for boxing would be to seek a compromise between the status quo and a ban. In other words, let boxing continue but with changes that will make it safer. I suggest implementing rules to boxing that allow only limited blows to the head in each round, say no more than six clean punches, with an official at ringside observing and keeping count of this. In this way boxing would become a sport where the target is chiefly the body, not the head. Allowing the use of a limited number of punches to the head would not, however, rob it completely of the thrill and excitement boxing fans enjoy.
Haydn, UK

Everything in life carries a risk, and boxing comes no where near the top of the list. If people don't like it then they don't have to watch it. They should spend their time campaigning for something a little less trivial.
Tony, England

I think either boxing should be banned or there needs to be some kind of protection - Headgear. We don't realise how dangerous this sport is, yes we all know Paul Ingle's situation is rare one but this is a warning sign of how dangerous this sport is. My boyfriend did boxing for two years although he was never seriously injured he has had his nose broken three times & if it gets broken again he can not get it fixed. This is a minor case but it was enough for him to stop, but do we really have to wait for another boxer to do die till we do something.
Tara Vardy, UK

What about all the other sports which have proven statistically more dangerous than Boxing. We would have to ban such sports as Horse Racing, Motor Sport and Show Jumping then. What about Banning it wuld only send the sport underground.
M Stroud, UK

This argument occurs again and again, only when there is a injury. Whilst what has occurred to Paul Ingle is tragic, he knew in full the risks involved. People are lured to boxing by large amounts of money. As in all areas of life, where there is a lot of money involved there is a large risk, be it in personal health, responsibility or financial health. For these people the risks are outweighed by the reward. It is their choice so let them make it. The only reason there are calls to ban the sport are because it is high profile, how often do we see pictures of injured or killed show jumpers or jockeys? To say that we are a civilised society not warranting this sport is ludicrous when the sports was invented for the so called civilised gentry in the days when family and social values were at their most strict.
Peter, England

I agree that forcing the sport underground would almost certainly cause more injuries in what would be an unregulated sport. It is clear, however that this brutal sport must have new regulations introduced to reduce the risk to boxers. I also feel that Ingle's trainer shows a deep level of ignorance when he makes his comment about racing, saying that when a driver dies the speed limits are not reduced. If he looks at the measures brought in since the death of Ayrton Senna, he will rapidly see that new measures are introduced year on year to increase safety. Without them, the experts reckon, Schumacher would not have survived his crash in 1999. If a sport which wraps a man in a tonne of metal at 200+ mph can be made safer, surely boxing can be as well?
Matt Dowson, UK

Boxers know the risks of going into the ring as well as the potential riches. There is potential brain damage or even death, they put their own lives on the line and no-one else's. So the sport should not be banned.
Jason Waldron, England

People just don't realise the number of bouts that go on (Hundreds, Amateur and professional) every week in Britain without any serious injures occurring. If you don't like boxing then that's fine, don't 'pay' to watch it and don't read about it, but please, for those of us involved in boxing we know of the risks involved... it's our sport and it simply won't be banned.
Dan, England


Professional boxing should be adapted to make it safer.
  Neil Williams, England

Banning boxing is not the answer. It's not just a sport, it's also a means for people to make a living. Banning this sport could force it underground and there are no rules or governing bodies to protect bare-knuckle boxers.
Darren Allen, England

Boxing should not be banned. Thousands of kids enjoy taking part, millions enjoy watching and the participants are taking part through thier own choice. Why should others have the right to stop other peoples enjoyment? I love boxing; its the most exciting sport in the world and nothing else comes close. It's a brilliant sport and we should strive to make it as safe as possible. The only people who want boxing banned are the people who cannot bare to see others enjoying themselves. Live and let be. I cannot believe that in the year 2000 we are telling people what they can and what they cannot do.
N Hameeda, England

Boxing shouldn't be banned, but professional boxing should be adapted to make it safer. Headguards could be used, as in the Olympics, and the number of rounds could be reduced. Also, if a similar system for point scoring was adopted there would be more skill involved rather than a slugging match that ends with both boxers receiving damage.
Neil Williams, England

The aim of a boxer, unlike in contact sports like rugby, is to injure and hurt his opponent and that is the diffrence. A sport in which this is the aim and has its fans baying for blood has no place in a civilised society.
Greg Harris, UK


Banning it is just another way of killing more of our freedom
  Steve Davies, Bahamas

This debate always comes up when a boxer is killed or injured, and always fades away just as rapidly. Ultimately, the sport is brimming with money and that is enough to keep it going. As barbaric as it may sound, I believe that if grown men (and women) wish to knock the stuffing out of each other in an organised setting then they should be allowed to do so.
Mark B, UK

If it's banned it will mean setting up secret and illegal fights with little or no supervision and medical help. There are a lot of wealthy men out there who would not have had the chance to get away from their horrendous beginnings if it wasn't for the chance to box. There are fewer fatalities in boxing than a lot of sports. Banning it is just another way of killing more of our freedom.
Steve Davies, Bahamas

> Boxing should not be banned. I boxed for years and gained an enormous amount from my participation in the sport. I am not ignorant of the risks involved and certainly believe that an investment in boxing is worthwhile. I will qualify as a doctor in a few months and will do as much as I can to support the sport. My thoughts are with Paul Ingle and his family at this terrible time.
David Hayward, England

Boxing should remain as sport because if it were to be banned it would go underground and cause a lot more injuries. There would be no medical supervision where as professional boxing has a doctor and hospital on stand-by.
Danny Fox, UK


We must look at ways of increasing the safety of this noble art of self-defence
  Kwasi Boafo Assuman, Ghana

There are so many reasons why boxing should not be banned. It is simple - if you ban boxing you must ban show jumping. So many more people die in that sport. Also, it is about time people were allowed to make up their own minds. They know the risks and consent to going into the ring. It's time some people stopped trying to inflict their views on others.
Mark Odell, England

The art of boxing is an inherently dangerous activity but no one is forced into it. An injury is bound to occur sooner or later, but this should not be used as propaganda. There are now requirements for paramedics to be ring-side and referees are able to stop fights early on. The risks are always going to be part of boxing but they have been minimised.
Allister Slingenberg, Holland

There are many 'barbaric' sports which are still legal in the UK such as fox-hunting and hare-coarsing but at least participants in boxing have a choice. Yes boxing is dangerous and injuries and fatalities will occur but if we banned every sport where a death has occurred what would we be left with? Tiddlywinks?
Dave Lewis, Milton Keynes UK

To ban boxing is running away from the problem. We must look at ways of increasing the safety of this noble art of self-defence.
Kwasi Boafo Assuman, Ghana


Boxing has no place in our modern, civilised society
  Mike Packwood, UK

It seems to me that no one asks the boxers what they want. If two people want to box, and let's face it there are people that do, the risks are pretty well known to them - especially when cases like this appear - so why stop them? They know what they are getting themselves into, so surely its for them to weigh up the pros and cons.
Chris Johnson, UK

Boxing should be banned. It is ridiculous that in the year 2000 people still talk about it as a sport.
Tony Hofmeyr, South Africa

What has happened to Paul Ingle is tragic but in no other sport do calls arise for a ban when there's a serious injury or death. There were more deaths in three-day eventing last year than any other sport yet no-one said it should be banned or modifications made. For a sport as tough as boxing the number of serious incidents is way lower than most other sports.
Ned Hall, England

Of course it should. A 'sport' where the sole objective is to render your opponent unconscious by deliberately causing brain damage is indefensable. If it were illegal then parents who currently send their younsters to boxing clubs would not be able to and so. Whilst it may go underground for a while, the supply of victims would eventually dry up. Also, an illegal sport would not be televised and, devoid of this income, would not be able to sustain itself. To argue that these types of brain injuries are far less prevelant than, footballing injuries for example is a feable argument. A footballer's career may well be ended by a badly damaged knee but in ten years time he will still have the mental capacity to tie his shoelaces and talk coherently. Boxing has no place in our modern, civilised society.
Mike Packwood, UK

Weight management and hydration should be handled better. Its not easy but it surely can be solved without forcing the sport underground.
Richard Lane, England

It is true that injuries occur in other sports as well. However, what makes boxing different from for instance F1 racing, is that inflicting injury to other living beings is inherent to boxing. My conclusion is that it would be a good idea to ban boxing as a sport because of the basic idea behind boxing. Boxing could be a contactless sport with future computer technology (the boxers needn't even be in the same room) but boxing fans do not see that as an alternative, which just goes to show how deeply rooted the principle of physical contact and injury to the opponent is.
Leo, Sweden


"Boxing is like prostitution: it is damaging and degrading to all who participate in it, but banning would be counter-productive"
  Ed Barrow, UK
I personally have no interest in boxing. I find it a very boring sport. However, people do make the choice to participate. I'm sure there must be many mountaineers, stuntmen, firemen...you name them, they make a choice, knowing the risks. Should their activities be banned for being too dangerous?
Jim Anderson, UK

Boxing is not a sport. In sport, if you deliberately cause an injury to your opponent, you are usually disqualified. In boxing you are declared the winner. The arguments that other contact sports such as rugby are more dangerous are specious, because in boxing it is the injuries that are the object of the activity. But should it be banned? Probably not, because banning will merely drive it underground. However, it should be both regulated and de-glamourised - the BBC should not be covering organised brutality of any sort.
Edward Barrow, UK

Boxing is barbaric, basically licensed hooliganism and needs to be either changed, or banned. We need to make sure that these incidents do not happen. Look at F1, when people die, or are seriously hurt there are all sorts of inquiries, and the sport became safer. That needs to happen with boxing.
Chris, UK

Competitors have a choice. This choice should remain.
Barbara Wardle, UK


"Boxing is unacceptable because the aim is to seriously damage your opponent, and that's not sport"
  Barbara Wardle, UK
I don't think boxing should be banned because it is a good competitive sport.
Simon Littlewood, United Kingdom

If people want to do it they can and if it is banned then it will only go underground where there will be far less safety measures and such immediate medical help as at present.
Tara, UK

Boxing is inhumane and a sport for animals, and must be stopped before there are other injuries and before it is too late
Jonathan Waters, United Kingdom

Banning the broadcasting of boxing might be a better way to prevent boxing injuries. Without the TV coverage the sponsorship, and therefore the big money and the incentive to box, would disappear.
Gordon Arthur, UK

Paul Ingle and Michael Watson knew that the risks in their sport could lead to severe injury. Boxing is the only "peaceful" pursuit that pitches man against man within a true sporting environment. It therefore has an attraction that cannot be replicated by any other sport. It is a sport, governed by rules and should not be interfered with by others who do not admire the participants for their spirit, bravery and skill.
Ian Finch, UK


"Boxing should be banned. Are we still in the dark ages"
  Ron Aitken, England
One of the nastier sides of boxing is that it is increasingly black fighters seeking to injure each other for the entertainment of white audiences.
Phil Walkling, England

Although I just voted to ban boxing, a ban is probably not a solution. I always found it amazing that people could enjoy watching two people hitting each other. As long as this will be, boxing will find support. Where is the money coming from? I doubt the spectator's pay enough to cover the millions needed to run the "sport".
Michel, Bahrain

Life is often violent, and boxing is just part of it.
R Wilson, Hong Kong.


"If you don't like boxing, don't pay to see it or watch it"
  Alex, England
The Romans had the joy of watching gladiators killing each other in the Coliseum. Now we have the joy of watching boxers beating each other until one of them loses consciousness, and possibly gets crippled. Are we prepared to revive the `sport' of gladiators killing each other if they agree to take the risks, or if banned, it can go underground?
Satoshi, Japan

Boxing has far less fatalities than many sports. If Boxing was banned and forced to go underground will the BMA honestly think they have accomplished something? All these do-gooders have really got it onto their head that we will all benefit from boxing being banned - I think not.
Stuart Hill, Great Britain

In England at the moment there is a complete lack of discipline for youngsters in particular young boys. Boxing is a sport that offers them an avenue to vent bad emotions, frustrations and instil a sense of order and discipline. With all contact sports there is a certain amount of danger. All country sports, motor racing and many field sports as well. I feel that that unless we want to completely sterilise this society you have to keep a certain sense of danger otherwise there is no sense of achievement
Ken O'Neill, UK

The issue of a ban is on a par with banning fox hunting and handguns - a better approach is risk management and minimisation. To do otherwise will infringe the liberties of people who make that choice.
Charles Knight, UK


"Those who mock boxing have never done it. Don't judge till you've tried it"
  Nathan Harris,UK
Although I don't particularly like boxing, it shouldn't be banned, as it would just force it to become an illegal game with no safety controls. At least now there is medical help available ringside if necessary
Sarah Cockhill, UK

No it shouldn't be banned. At the end of the day it is the competitors choice to participate in these sports be it for the high cash rewards or the enjoyment of the sport. What would have happened to Paul Ingle if the medical support had not been there when this incident took place?
Simone, England

The narrow-minded folk who want to ban boxing should grow up and face reality. Thousands of people are left brain damaged every year by motor vehicles. Do they want cars banned? No, because that would have an impact on their selfish lives.
Andy Malcolm, Wales

Surely 'causing an affray' is illegal already, isn't it? Just because it takes place in a ring shouldn't protect it from the law. So theoretically boxing is already illegal - but the law is simply not enforced.
Ian F, UK


"Bull, cock and pit-bull fighting are banned. All barbaric and inhumane. Why is boxing exempt?
  Richard Hardiman, UK
Ideally it should be banned but a ban may give it a spurious glamour and drive it underground where even less control would be exercised. We could be back to the era of bare knuckle fights. There should be greater control perhaps moves to a non-contact version like karate.
Dr. Gordon Welch, UK

When Ayrton Senna died, there were few calls for a ban on F1 racing, however, safety procedures were tightened and refined. Boxing has learned from previous incidents, such as Michael Watson and Stephen Oliver, and Paul Ingle was treated within the 'Golden Hour' as a direct result.
Keir Smith, United Kingdom

The safety of boxers must be paramount and everything that can be done should be done to ensure their safety. If the costs are high, so be it. Surely a small percentage of the revenues earned by those broadcasting and promoting the sport will meet the bill.
Arthur Ferry, UK

What kind of morally oppressive society are we living in when we infringe so deeply on the rights of mature, intelligent and consenting adults? My thoughts and prayers go out to Paul Ingle, a brave man who has used his God-given gifts to entertain and inspire others, and who made his dreams a reality.
James, UK


"The freedom to take risks is one of life's most precious things"
  David, UK
I think the modern sport boxing should be revised, probably long ago. They are no longer trained to defend themselves but to take punches to the head. There should be a reduction in rounds, a minimum age for competitive boxing of 18.
Adrian Nightingale, England

Unfortunately fighting will always be a part of human nature. At least by keeping the sport legal, we exert some sort of control over the way that the sport is run and can attempt to limit the amount of injuries suffered as a result. Boxing as a legal sport is much safer that it would be as an illegal sport.
Philip Barton, UK

The fact still remains that the death rate for sports such as Horse Racing, Motor Racing and many other sports is higher than the death rate for Boxing. The participants compete in boxing knowing full well what the risks are.
Chris Campbell, England

One boxer is injured and everyone wants it banned. 10 people have died up the mountains of Europe and more will die before winter is over, why is no one banning mountain sports which also put other people at risk i.e. rescuers?
J. Parker, UK


"What will ask to ban next? Rock climbing?!
  David, UK
Boxing is a tradition that has been around for hundreds of years and those who aspire to become fighters are well aware of the risks. If we ban boxing it will be driven underground to illegal clubs etc. and this is where there will be far more deaths and serious injuries involved.
Nick Maxted, UK

The people calling for it to be banned have probably never been involved with the sport, and wouldn't understand the opportunities it gives to many people. Crusading for it to be banned on moral grounds is ridiculous.
Guy Ingram, UK

Indeed boxing must be almost unique amongst sports in that if boxers inflicted such assaults on each other outside the ring they would be breaking the law. A clear contrast is provided by yesterday's case in which a rugby player was convicted of grievous bodily harm for striking another player on the pitch.
Neil, UK


"It would be a sad, oppressive and ultimately dull world if we banned activities merely because we disapproved of them"
  Max Burgoyne,UK
If boxing is banned, why not three day eventing (something like 6 deaths in the last 18 months), round the world sailing (there was a rescue today), motor racing and superbikes. All these sports involve putting yourself in harms way and it is up to the competitors to decide whether they want to do it.
Steve Lowe, Ireland

How many parachutists have died this year, how many mountaineers, how many cyclists, and how many horse riders? Do we ban every sport because a willing participant is killed? People go into such sports knowing the risks.
Shaun McDermott, UK

I don't think Boxing should be banned. It is a sport with world-wide creditability. The boxers are trained fighters who are well aware of the consequences. What should be discussed is the need for a stricter regulatory body. Maybe this would minimise serious bodily harm.
Sharon Kasbia, Bristol, UK


"We get upset at animal cruelty but what about human to human"
  John Colbert, England
The 'ban boxing brigade' are on the march again. What do these people do between boxing injuries? Lobby against motor racing or horse racing or do they lobby against some of the worlds real problems such as the torture of political opponents, forced female mutilation, killing and maiming of people for religious ends? I would like to think so, but I doubt it.
Mal Walker, Australia

It is an excellent source of entertainment, I believe it should not be banned.
Michael Marotta, USA

Boxing is not a sport. It is a barbaric spectacle. Comparisons with sports involving a degree of physical risk are misleading. In boxing the sole purpose of the participants is to hurt each other, while sick spectators derive sado-masochistic gratification.
Tony, Hong Kong SAR, China

Again the same old sad arguments in favour of boxing are trotted out: that boxers are fit; that they choose what to do; that statistically fatalities are rare. These evade the central reality, that 'boxing' is crude and brutal, catering to the worst instincts in the audience. Even amateurs suffer some brain damage, and almost all professionals are seriously affected; though it may not be immediately obvious. Look at what has happened to the one of the most skilful boxers in history - Muhammad Ali. I find it disgusting that apparently sensible people still defend this abomination. How civilised are we?
Allan Healy, Australia


"These are intelligent people who have made their choice"
  Rob Yates, UK
Boxing should not be banned, but it's whole infrastructure, including officialdom, administration, and it's rules, needs a major overhaul.
Derek Milham, Australia

The most dangerous sport in Australia is rock fishing. More people disappear off rocks every year than most other sports combined, yet we don't rush to ban it. Having boxed myself, I see no sensible reason to ban it, people enter the ring of their own volition and are aware of the potential consequences. It's as simple as that.
Adrian Bradley, Australia

Boxing shouldn't be banned, but should be treated like vice, not a sport. The argument that boxing is keeping kids away from drugs beggars belief. Having your brain knocked about physically or chemically is the same thing.
Frank Smithers, UK

It is the referee's job to ensure that fights are stopped when there is the prospect of serious harm occurring - and by and large they do this very well. However, if you want to limit the fatalities even further - strict regulation of the sport is required as the vast amounts of money involved tend to entail decisions are made with the intent of saving money and not protecting the boxers themselves from unnecessary injury. If people like Don King were forced out of boxing there would be fewer serious injuries.
Lee Churchman, Canada


"More people probably die fishing in a year than do in boxing"
  Keith Walker, UK
In a better world, yes boxing should be banned. But as long as man feels the need in his heart to overpower and brutalise others, boxing will remain popular.
Randall Collins, USA

The unmitigated arrogance of those who seek to deny the right to choose and pass laws that impose their view of what is right and proper on the rest of society horrifies me.
Richard Barrett, UK

Boxing has accepted a rule not to hit below the belt, and presumably became less exciting as a consequence. If any boxing is to be permitted, then blows above the shoulder should be banned as well.
Mike Lean, Scotland

Michael Watson got into the ring voluntarily. If he was worried about the health and safety aspects why did he even climb in the ring in the first place. I am sorry that he is now in a wheelchair but he should accept the consequences of his participation.
Pete, England


"To ban boxing would be insane"
  Patrick, Ireland
I used to watch boxing in the 70's and 80's on the television. But it has now passed its sell by date. If you think about it, a sport where the main goal is to batter an opponent senseless has no place in our society. Those who support it are in my opinion living in the past. Promoters and managers living on these earnings are vile pariahs who are too scared to box themselves.
Dave Oswald, UK

Boxers believe the risk is worth taking. Formula 1 drivers get into their cars knowing they could hit a wall at 200 mph and be killed but they believe the risk is worth taking. You cannot take all the risk out of life. When the ultimate prize is so big people will take the risk. It is not wrong, it is human nature. If man hadn't taken risks we would still be living in caves.
Keith Devereux, UK

Boxing should not be banned, but I feel that public opinion will have the final say in the long run, as it will over fox hunting. I used to really enjoy boxing ten years ago, but I cannot watch a boxing match now. There is a huge difference between other sports and boxing as it is the only sport where the object is to inflict brain damage. Even sports such as motor racing (which is always mentioned by the pro boxing lobby) the object is not to deliberately run your competitors off the road and try to inflict as much physical damage on them as possible. The boxing authorities should think the unthinkable - and consider making the use of headguards mandatory.
Sev, UK

Advancements in medical technology could be encouraged, in order to increase the effectiveness of a boxer by constantly monitoring their health during a fight. The Boxer could have a small pack attached to the back of his belt, and a few "sucker pad" sensors stuck on to strategic parts of his body, as it takes nothing away from the sport.
Matt , UK


"Boxing is a mad sport. I suggest banning head blows"
  Dave, Oxfordshire
It seems unlikely that an attempt to ban boxing will succeed, a compromise would be to treat the head on a par with the genitals and make it illegal to punch above the shoulders. Most fights are won on points anyway. I understand that medical evidence shows that all blows to the head cause some degree of brain damage - more so when helmets are worn because they increase the centrifugal effect. Another compromise would be to dispense with gloves - better shattered hands and fingers than brain injuries.
Phil ap Lorwerth, Wales

I agree that something needs to be done to improve the overall image and safety of boxing, but banning it is totally the wrong route. Firstly, it would drive the sport underground and lead back to a time where bare knuckle fights didn't end till one person was killed. Secondly, it's not just grown men who fight. There are children all across the country, fighting in organised conditions, some for better self-defence, others for the love of the sport. Many of these kids wouldn't have any other pastime if boxing were banned, which could lead to them becoming involved in crime. Do we really need more hooligans roaming the streets?
Alastair Gordon, UK

Many of the arguments being parroted here are long dead, many others should be. All headgear protects against is cuts and bruises - not only does it have no effect on brain damage. As to the moral question, it seems to me that the lawful actions of two consenting adults (where they are harming no-one else) should be of no concern to anyone. To compare two trained sportsmen fighting under a strict system of rules to some kind of street assault is simply stupid. The BMA is hardly in a position to be any kind of moral watchdog and these individuals make the choice to fight.
Craig Hughes, Scotland


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Boxing authorities need to constantly monitor the procedures currently in place, and introduce new safety measures; reducing the number of rounds or lowering the weight of gloves for example. Boxing should not, however, be banned; this knee-jerk reaction to every incident or fatality often distracts and dilutes the efforts of the powers-that-be from investing in better regulations and higher standards of ringside safety.
Keir Smith, United Kingdom

Comparing boxing to other sports is daft. In the javelin it doesn't matter who the opponents are, it's how well you throw that counts. Watching the Olympics we see there are safeguards for other fights, so why not apply them to boxing?
Dave T, UK

No it shouldn't. People who compete in boxing are old enough to realise the risks. It's younger children that shouldn't be fighting competitively.
Mike, Wales

A would drive it underground and there would be a dramatic increase in unlicensed boxing events. These would not not have any of the safety standards . Don't ban it.
Tony Rowe, Australia


"A ban would drive it underground, with no saftety standards. Don't ban it"Quote Here
  Tony Rowe, Australia
All boxers accept the risks when they get into the ring. It is a life long commitment and is a means of escape for many people. If it is banned then a culture will be destroyed.
Tom Chalmers, U.K

Certainly, this incident in Ghana was repulsive and shameful and worthy of fair amounts of criticism, however, it is totally unfair to "write-off" the entire African continent from World cup contention due to the behaviour of some fans in one country. Europeans need look no further than their own stadium to see similar roguish behaviour. However, when similar incidents occur in England or Germany we don't see this type of rush to judgement.
Oliver L. Barrett, USA

I believe someone spoke of "manufactured" spinning wickets! Well, shouldn't any great team be able to "manufacture" quality players to play on any kind of wicket? Isn't a player's quality measured by his ability to adopt to any kind of wicket? The Australians are truly a great side but the image is tarnished by the way they conduct themselves.
Madhavi C, Hyderabad, India

I do not think boxing should be banned, I do have a few comments that could be introduced, cut the number of rounds, I also feel too many boxers are struggling at the weight they are supposed to be boxing at. If they have to lose so much weight prior to the bout the natural body fluids have been drained, the brain has nothing to float upon and any blow to the head pushes the brain causing bursting of the vessels resulting in internal bleeding and clotting.
Albert Hills, Scotland

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See also:

17 Dec 00 |  Sports Talk
Can boxing survive another tragedy?
18 Dec 00 |  Other Sports
Minister rejects boxing ban
18 Dec 00 |  Other Sports
Boxer remains 'critical'
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Calzaghe's concern for Ingle
17 Dec 00 |  Other Sports
Oliver hits out at Ingle's cornermen
17 Dec 00 |  Other Sports
Boxing's new black eye
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