The Australian Medical Association wants to ban boxing from the Commonwealth and Olympic Games, according to a punchy press release:
“A competition in which the winner is determined either by delivering a greater number of blows to his opponent or by literally knocking his opponent senseless is no sport,” Dr Haikerwal says. [Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, the AMA President -ed.]
“Boxing has damaging health effects, both immediate and over the longer term. The potential for serious injury was evident in some of the mis-matched bouts at the Melbourne Games.
“International events based on a spirit of goodwill – such as Olympic and Commonwealth Games – are no place for interpersonal violence and injury.
“As athletes, officials and spectators look forward to the next games, it’s time to remove boxing from the sporting line-up.”
According to the international boxing rules used at Commonwealth and Olympic Games, a boxer scores points by a hit which lands “directly … on any part of the front or sides of the head or body above the belt”.
A knock-out blow also wins a round, and a contestant earns a foul if he avoids being hit by intentionally falling or turning his back – so boxers can be penalised for avoiding serious injury.
Statistics compiled by the USA-based Journal of Combative Sport show that between 2000 and 2005, 53 people died around the world as a direct result of boxing – an average of 10.6 deaths per year.
The AMA opposes all forms of boxing, and has been calling for nine years for boxing to be banned from Commonwealth and Olympic Games, and the World Medical Association has lobbied for a total ban on boxing since 1983.
AMA Queensland President Dr Steve Hambleton also has called for boxing to be removed from the Games bill, saying brain damage and debilitating diseases such as Parkinson’s are recognised consequences of boxing.
(hat tip: Kevin, M.D.)