Gloves are off in MSP’s Twitter row over boxing
Rutherglen MSP James Kelly became involved in a Twitter row with Labour Party member Michael Kelly over the safety of boxing.
James tweeted a picture of our front page last week, where we reported that Durie’s Boxing Club, who hail from Rutherglen, had been saved from financial meltdown.
However in response to the tweet, former Celtic board member Michael Kelly responded with “does Rutherglen really need more brain damage?”.
What ensued was an argument between the two on the safety of the sport, which concluded with Mr Kelly calling on local boxing clubs to be shut down.
James said: “What Michael Kelly needs to realise is that local boxing clubs play an important role in coaching youngsters in a safe environment that teaches them good discipline and keeps them fit. I have been to Duries in Rutherglen and O’Neils at the Westburn Hall and admire the work and the hours that the volunteer coaches put in.
“In any contact sport, there is a risk. Boxing has tightened its regulations in recent years to minimise these risks. Michael’s approach would drive these clubs out of existence and then the many youngsters would be left on the streets would no focus. I am certainly not prepared to see that happen in Rutherglen and Cambuslang.”
Michael Kelly said: “Any sport where there are blows to the head risk brain damage.
“I have always been against it and will aways campaign for its abolition, whether it’s amateur or professional.
“I am all for youngsters being active and getting exercise in the community. A better alternatively are the Japanese martial arts of Karate, TaeKwonDo and Judo where there is a much less risk of a blow to the head.”
Coach of the club in question Archie Durie said that the decision to remove head guards from the sport in 2013 made fights safer. The Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur’s (AIBA) came to the decision to remove headguards from senior bouts in men’s boxing after two separate studies provided evidence that the removal will decrease concussions.
Archie added: “No sport is 100 per cent safe. Whether it’s football or rugby, there is always a chance someone could get hurt. My boxers are taught a skill, I teach them that boxing is about not getting hurt, but trying to hurt your opponent.”
Spat James Kelly and Michael Kelly disagree over the safety of boxing