Boxing’s Dark Side

Boxing has been around for centuries dating back to the Ancient Greeks 8th Century BC before boxing was first introduced by the 1904 Olympics.Then there was bare knuckle boxing, it still exists today,some bare knuckle organisations claim that its not as dangerous when fighting bare knuckle as opposed to wearing boxing gloves. today sometimes bare knuckle fighters have the use of a ring and occasionally use hay bales to mark a small squared circle where fighters lock horns in a brutal ferocious toe to toe fast paced slugfest .Back in time boxers would often go for many rounds receiving severe injuries and on occasions this included death . The Longest Boxing Match in History went 110 Rounds and Lasted over 7 Hours. On April 6, 1893, Andy Bowen and Jack Burke fought the longest gloved boxing match in history at the Olympic Club in New Orleans, Louisiana..It began around 9 p.m. on April 6, 1893 and ended the next day well after 4 a.m.


James Figg became known as the father of boxing because he was the first to introduce the teaching of boxing and acknowledged as the first heavyweight king in 1719. Jack Broughton preceded him and became known as the father of boxing rules which included the use of boxing gloves. In 1865/1867 the Marquess of Queensbury rules were introduced in England which meant even tho there was still always an element of danger with blows to the head the new regulations and stricter rules would shorten rounds and fighters would have to become accustomed to wearing gloves. The use of a ring and a one minute break in between rounds.Fights would not last more than fifteen rounds with the use of a referee.Since those days fights have become even shorter that last no longer than twelve rounds of three minute rounds,there are many different weight classes and divisions that each respective boxer would compete and fight.Boxers are monitored and careful consideration is introduced around fitness,weight, health and well being and all fighters have to pass a medical before fights and must have stringent regular brain scans to keep their licence by the relevant governing bodies which in United Kingdom is the British Boxing Board of Control. All boxing matches have a doctor present and in many cases a neurosurgeon at ringside . Action plans have to be in place before each meeting of shows for emergency services such as paramedics and ambulances on site ensuring emergency exits are unblocked for their vehicles if required in an emergency to swiftly evacuate fighters to get to relevant hospitals in a timely manner as most severe injuries are often caused by bleeding on the brain and would be required to have the appropriate care and medical attention as quickly as possible.

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Boxing will always have its critics because of its brutality and thus giving permission to rendering someone unconscious while the baying crowd cheer and shout for more while consuming their popcorn and drinking their cola ! to the crowds this is entertainment.At its highest their can be thousands in attendance with massive pay per views watching at home all over the world .On a much smaller scale their can be just a few hundred in attendance but both offer the same risks and the dangers are still very significant in that respect . Some Retired boxers have been known to be suffering from a term derogatory and commonly known as punch drunk syndrome however the more technical term particularly used from doctors and physicians is pugilistic dementia but both are very similar or have the same meaning and create a negative impact long term on individuals health and lives to those who this effects and suffer.

Nigel Benn v Gerald McClellan 25th february 1995 . McClellan suffered major injuries from the fight and is now severely disabled who requires 24 hour care.


Nigel Benn v Gerald McClellan resulted in tragic circumstances when McClellan suffered a brain clot after their 1995 battle in London.

There are many contact sports such as Rugby Martial Arts /UFC ( Ultimate Fighting Champion ) just to name a few , then there’s the dangerous sports such as rock climbing ,water sports ,skydiving Formula one etc but none are looked at or frowned upon in the same way or as much with boxing for calls to making it illegal and banning the sport completely. Boxing will always be brutal no matter how we judge or view it love or loathe it,their is a common phrase used that is said by many and goes “you can’t play boxing” and being perfectly honest you don’t.

Boxing is not a team game like for example football and if your having a bad day you can rely on your teammates to bail you out, it’s just a case of when the bell sounds your on your own trading blows both to the head and body to either gain points or knock your opponent out .From time to time a fighter will instinctively take a knee so they can have an instant much needed break from the onslaught of their opponents punches or even get themselves intentionally counted out. It has been known for some boxers to fall ill hours or even days after fights. On the odd occasion your cornerman will show a compassionate act and throw the towel in to halt further punishment and damage.even tho this method is not an official rule it will generally be accepted by the referee however there have been occasions the referee has allowed fights to continue and ignored the towel being thrown in.


The rematch between Chris Eubank and Michael Watson ended Watson’s career as a boxer and is now confined to a wheelchair.

In this article and the theories written the fight game will always be dangerous no matter how safe governing bodies attempt to make it with their specific rules and regulations as well as their sanctions that are imposed .Continued appropriate health and safety measures and rules to minimise the dangers will always be necessary.

However i consider Making boxing illegal would only force the sport underground where fights would happen secretly. Banning it just wouldn’t stop it or remove the problem. The fatality percentage would almost certainly rise and injuries would increase therefore many more fighters would be at risk So it appears sensible to keep boxing a legitimate sport. What follows are just some of boxing’s long history of deaths and injuries for each decade caused and as a consequence by fighters stepping in between the ropes and takes a look at the continued dangers these warriors often face from one to one combat.

  • On the 25th of August 1930 Frankie Campbell was knocked out and later died of injuries to his brain hours after his fight with Maxi Baer. Doctors discovered that his brain had been knocked loose from its tissue.
  • 24th June 1947 Jimmy Doyle died seventeen hours after being knocked out.
  • 22nd February 1950 Lavern Roach, Lavern suffered a fatal head injury during the fight and died the next day due to subdural hemorrhage.
  • 11th March 1969 Ulrich Regis died four days after the fight following surgery to remove a blood clot.
  • 19th July 1979 Angelo Jacopucci fell into a coma after his fight and died. As a result of this European Championship rounds were reduced from fifteen to twelve.
  • 19th September 1980 Johnny Owen was knocked out in his fight with Lupe Pintor and died six weeks later without regaining consciousness.
  • 13th November 1982 Kim Duk-Koo died four days after his world title challenge as a result of this fight world championship fights were reduced from fifteen to twelve rounds.
  • Kim Duk -Koo in his prime before his ill fated fight with
    Ray “boom boom” Mancini
  • 21 September 1991 Michael Watson suffered horrific, near-fatal brain injuries, a blood clot forming on his brain minutes after his world title fight with Chris Eubank at the home of Tottenham Hotspur, White Hart Lane. It was a medical miracle when he survived then.Both fighters dropped. Watson spent 40 days in a coma, underwent 6 brain surgeries, and suffered permanent partial paralysis.
  • 18th July 2009 Marco Antonio Nazareth was taken to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to treat a cerebral hemorrhage and died four days later.
  • 19th July 2019 Maxim Dadashev was stopped after eleven rounds by his trainer Buddy McGirt and collapsed after the fight and underwent brain surgery at the hospital , he was placed in an induced coma before he died three days later of cerebral edema due to punches to the head.

Article written by Peter Van Leyden.



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