Finally, Women’s Boxing has caught world attention in the news. Unfortunately, about the wrong topic.
When there are so many positive things that can and should be done to bolster popularity for the sport, the focus is on “longer rounds for female fighters.” And despite the wisdom of the science behind the 2-minute round, during this past week, there have been outcries from some women boxers demanding “equality” based on instituting a 3-minute round.
As President of the WBC, I will not jump on the bandwagon only to see fine athletes crushed beneath its wheels. The easy thing to do would be to try to be popular, pretend to be a hero and agree to change the 2-minute round to 3-minutes.
This is not a popularity contest. Our duty, as boxing regulators, is to always keep our priorities straight and the WBC’s backbone has always been safety. The WBC has spent a large amount of money and many years and effort in medical research with partners like the world prestigious UCLA group.
Research and studies have provided facts which should not be challenged but rather used to change rules and procedures to make boxing safer. This is the reason why boxing matches are 12 rounds and not 15, as it was before 1982. This is the reason why the official weigh-in is conducted one day before the match, and we now have mandatory 30- and 7-day precaution weigh-ins. I could go on with many more initiatives and changes that have transformed our sport and has made it safer.
The WBC Medical committee works all year-round with ongoing programs to try to find ways to make boxing safer, and to lower the risk of injuries as much as possible. This will never change and will never be compromised.
“If caring for your well-being is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.” This is how Jill Diamond, WBC’s Co-chair of the WBC Women’s Championship. described the WBC’s position towards female fighters.
During the second annual Women’s boxing Convention last year in Tijuana, there were over 40 fighters present during the presentation by Dr. Choe from UCLA. She emphatically described, with facts, how the bone structure of women is different than men, specifically in the neck region. She also stated that women have almost 80 percent more concussion probability than men. A concussion or fatal accident is deemed to happen when an athlete is dehydrated and fatigued, and they have a slower recovery time. There is a simple formula: DEHYDRATION + FATIGUE + HEAVY BLOW = CONCUSSION.
The more time you fight, the higher the dehydration and fatigue. The risk factor increases. It is also a fact that women have stronger symptoms after concussion and suffer more pain and take longer to recover.
All of the fighters who were present were shocked to learn the physiology and medical explanation, and then understood the “whys”!
The WBC will not sanction any bout for women if rounds are scheduled for 3 minutes, and will not sanction any bout scheduled for 12 rounds.
There are jurisdictions which allow 3-minute rounds for women. The decision is on those local jurisdictions, the promoters willing to stage fights, and the fighters willing to fight 3 minutes.
Can women fight 3-minute rounds? Of course, they can! Should women fight 3-minute rounds? No.
Fighters, male or female, are warriors. They are willing to risk it all. Their job is to fight. Our job is to protect them.
Some food for thought:
Tennis – Women play 3 sets, men play 5 sets.
Golf – Women drive from a shorter distance.
Lacrosse – Smaller field, number of players, no body contact
Basketball – 3-point shot for men is 20’9″ and for women is 19’9.” Smaller ball to compensate for hand size.
NCAA Cross Country – Men race 8K and women race 6K. International races: Men race 12K and women race 8K.
Gymnastics– Men have 6 events and women 4 events (Both use the vault and floor exercise. Men also practice on the horizontal bar, parallel bars, pommel horse and still rings.]
Bobsled – Smaller team (Men have a 4-person team and women a 2-person team).
Ice Hockey – no checking.
Swimming Women swim 800m, men swim 1500m.
Cycling – Women 140k, men 280k.
Olympic Diving – Women do 5 dives, and men do 6 dives.
Hurdles – Men’s shortest hurdle is 110m, and women’s shortest is 100m.
Football – Permissible: Smaller field, more substitutions, lighter/smaller ball, width between goal posts, duration of play period.
Reality isn’t sexism. If the WBC reformed men’s boxing to protect male athletes and didn’t do the same for women, that would be sexism.
The WBC will order a specific study soon to begin regarding this exclusive topic, and once it is finished, report it to the WBC Board of Governors.