Fighters safer without headgear - AIBA chief Wu

Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:04am EST
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By Peter Rutherford

SEOUL (Reuters) - The decision to remove protective headgear in men's amateur boxing has made the sport safer by reducing concussions and forcing fighters to protect their heads more, Ching-Kuo Wu, the president of the governing AIBA, told Reuters on Wednesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) Congress on South Korea's Jeju Island, Wu also said women's boxing could one day follow suit but only after extensive monitoring of the men's game.

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 organizations, 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?   Continued...

AIBA President  Wu Ching-Kuo arrives for a news conference in Baku September 24, 2011. REUTERS/Osman Karimov