Last night I watched an amateur boxing fight just outside Cambridge and I was surprised and disappointed by the low quality of the technique in the majority of the fighters. This post is not about me being disrespectful toward those young men that had enough courage to wear their gloves and enter the ring but more as a criticism toward coaches that dare sending inexperienced fighters to fight in a potentially very dangerous sport.
Boxing is a full contact fighting sport: this means that regardless the safety measures imposed by referee and judges each strike is meant to be thrown and hit at maximum power. Considering that the preferred target for most strikes is the face and the side of the head it is obvious that damages and injuries are likely and frequent.
In more than one occasion, during last night’s 11 bouts fighters were bleeding, the referee was counting because they were loosing it and in two cases it was a clear knock out. In fact since the beginning of one of the fights it was pretty obvious that the two guys had no idea about how technique should be and, apart from wearing gloves and shorts, they were pretty much fighting like in any street brawl on a Saturday night. The referee even stopped the fight at some point in the second round to indicate that swinging punching like a bar fighter was not the way to go: just about 5 seconds after I made a comment about the fact that if one of those uncontrolled punched connected it would have been a KO when it just happened, bang. The boxer fell on his side, unconscious and did not move at all for several seconds: referee and medical officer intervened and helped him recovering. When he regained consciousness he was looking around with the typical expression of who doesn’t know where he is.
Perhaps I am from a dated, maybe even out of date, school and I value my students’ safety above anything. Perhaps it is the fact that, in our case, when kicks are also used damages can be even worse: in any case I am pretty sure that I would have not put most of those fighters in a ring given their actual level of experience. Fighting is not about being tough and fighting like a man: it’s about reaching the right level of preparation and quality of technique and having enough experience to avoid being slaughtered.