All forms of boxing are a public demonstration of interpersonal violence which is unique among sporting activities. Victory is obtained by inflicting on the opponent such a measure of physical injury that the opponent is unable to continue, or which at least can be seen to be significantly greater than is received in return1. This particularly applies to professional boxing.
1. The AMA opposes all forms of boxing.
2. The AMA recommends to the International Olympic Committee and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association that boxing be banned from both the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.
3. The AMA recommends the prohibition of all forms of boxing for people under the age of 18.
4. The AMA recommends that media coverage of boxing should be subject to control codes similar to those which apply to television screening of violence.
5. Until such time as boxing is banned, the AMA supports the following steps designed to minimise harm to amateur and professional boxers:
5.1 At all boxing contests, a medical practitioner should be present and responsible for the medical supervision of that contest. The medical practitioner must be adequately trained to perform ringside resuscitation, including endotracheal tube insertion.
5.2 All boxing jurisdictions should ensure that medical practitioners overseeing any contest are authorised to stop the contest at any time to examine a contestant and, if necessary, terminate the bout;
5.3 Boxing jurisdictions should conduct on-going health education and first-aid training for all ring personnel.
5.4 The AMA recommends to all boxing jurisdictions that no amateur or professional boxing bout be permitted unless:
5.4.1 the contest occurs where there are readily available adequate neurosurgical and resuscitative facilities for the emergency treatment of an injured boxer;
5.4.2 current resuscitation equipment be available at the ringside; and
5.4.3 there is a comprehensive evacuation procedure for the removal of any injured boxer to medical facilities. This procedure should be rehearsed prior to each boxing contest.
5.5 All boxing jurisdictions must extend all recommended safety measures to sparring partners.
6. Until such time as boxing is banned, the AMA believes that, to reduce the morbidity and mortality rates associated with boxing, the following modifications to equipment and rules should be undertaken;
6.1 increase the time interval between the weigh-in and the bout to at least 72 hours, to allow the boxer to rehydrate;
6.2 increase the size of the gloves used in both amateur and professional bouts;
6.3 compulsory use of standardised and correctly fitted mouthguards for sparring and competition;
6.4 decrease the emphasis on scoring blows to the head and awarding points, instead, for defensive boxing manoeuvres.
1. National Health and Medical Research Council, Boxing Injuries, July 1993.