NO doubt boxing is very entertaining – it changes lives for the better 99% of the time. It gives me and continues to give me, the most amazing life out here in Los Angeles.
I just wish there was a way to make it a little safer. If you’re a regular reader of my Boxing News Online blog, you will know I’m always concerned about brain health after I figured out I’ve been punched in the head 49,688 times (read this blog HERE) and have a split in my membrane that attaches the brain to the skull.
I recently came across a video of me fighting a schoolboy champion in which I won by knockout. I was 15, so was my opponent, and this was the first time I’d won a flight like this.
At the time it was great to win a fight like this, and until I just recently got this footage I never thought anything of it, now I’m all grown up with a few kids of my own, it makes me think how the hell is this legal!
Looking at this from the outside looking in, you have a 15-year-old boy being knocked out in a room full of drunken men who are betting money on this. Lots of them are cheering and shouting, “Knock him out,” and actually want to see the fight end like this. At the age of 15, I’d had five years experience as we start at 10 years old.
This is our culture, I get it, but what damage does this do to a young boy’s developing brain?
I got my first heavy concussion at 16 years old when I was fighting for England in the final of the European Championships. I was hit with a solid right hand, my legs went to jelly and my mind switched off. I fought the rest of the fight on instinct as my mind was blank and I ended up winning but I couldn’t remember anything for the next couple of hours. I found it funny at the time. My teammates Stephen Smith and Brian Rose were making fun of me saying I got KO’d and lost and I believed them. This was after I had been on the podium and received the gold medal – I didn’t know what day it was!
The last thing you think of as a young boxer is the damage that this does to us.
Now, I’m not saying boxing should be banned, but I am saying that I think this is a problem and we need a solution for it. What’s the solution? I don’t know.
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