I know that I shall be very unpopular for this next piece. It is, however, only my opinion and I am not forcing it onto anybody. I hate violence of any kind and that includes boxing. I do acknowledge all our medal winners at the Olympics and I do say ‘well done’ to them all. It is their chosen sport and they have excelled at it.
I say a special ‘well done’ to Katie Taylor and her achievements. What a lovely girl she is — but how I wish she wasn’t a boxer.
If she must box, however, then I’m glad she won gold for herself and her country. I was as emotional as anybody else seeing the Tricolour raised over her head and hearing our national anthem being sung with such gusto.
I do congratulate her and all the other winners and other participants who so nobly represented us over the last two weeks.
My dislike for it extends into amateur boxing, even though the boxers wear protective headgear — a small mercy.
Contests are won on points or by a knockout and that includes causing a person to lose consciousness.
A blow to the body, whatever part of the body, causes some level of pain. Pain is defined as ‘physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury.’ The object of boxing is to hit another person, thereby causing pain.
I have also seen pain described as a warning to the brain that something is wrong with the body at or near where the pain is felt. How then can it be justified to cause this pain, discomfort and even injury?
I was watching Katie Taylor’s fight with the Liverpool girl, Natasha Jonas, the other night and at one stage Katie hit her opponent a strong blow to the head.
Even though she was wearing the regulatory headgear we could clearly see, when the camera slowed down, the contorted features of the English girl, with her body fluids flying from her nose or mouth. I cannot understand why that should be allowed and by that camera shot alone, I am reinforced in my belief that boxing is not acceptable as a sport.
One of the ways a boxer can win a boxing match is to knock the other person unconscious. A person who is knocked unconscious has suffered some form of trauma to the brain, however slight. I can think of no reason why that should be acceptable in any circumstances.
Knocking a person unconscious or even causing concussion may cause permanent brain damage. There appears to be no clear division between the force required to knock a person out and the force likely to kill a person.
Since 1980 more than 200 boxers, professional and amateur, have died as the result of ring or training injuries. In 1983, the Journal of the American Medical Association called for a ban on boxing. The editor, Dr George Lundberg, is said to have called boxing an ‘obscenity’ that ‘should not be sanctioned by any civilised society.’
I am given to understand that since then the British, Canadian and Australian Medical Associations have also called at some stage for bans on boxing.
Anti-boxing activists state that boxing is the only sport where hurting the other athlete is the goal. A spokesman for the British Medical Association, a Dr O’Neill, has supported the BMA’s proposed ban on boxing: “It is the only sport where the intention is to inflict serious injury on your opponent, and we feel that we must have a total ban on boxing.”
In 2007, one study of amateur boxers showed that protective headgear did not prevent brain damage, and another found that amateur boxers faced a high risk of brain damage.
Laws now prohibit the smacking of children. A ‘smack’ is usually a soft blow administered by the open hand and with the intention of causing the minimum of pain and certainly with the clear intention of not causing injury.
I agree with that change in our laws. It is time now we took a critical look at a sport where it is permissible to hurt another human being to the point that they may lose consciousness.
But I’m not holding my breath. That would definitely lead to a loss of consciousness for me.
(Email Michael at [email protected])