No to more charity fights
Boxing New Zealand (BNZ) has turned its back on corporate boxing following the death of a Christchurch competitor.
Kain Parsons, 37, died in Christchurch Hospital on Wednesday. Parsons, a former builder-turned-project-manager for Versatile Garages, was knocked unconscious during a fight against former Canterbury and Tasman Makos half-back Steve Alfeld at Fight for Christchurch on Saturday.
BNZ, a small player in the corporate boxing world and also the governing body for amateur and Olympic-style boxing in New Zealand, has held ‘‘very real and grave concerns’’ over the safety of participants in corporate boxing and the lack of consistent regulation for some time. On Wednesday it said it would ‘‘cease any and all involvement’’ with so called ‘‘Corporate Boxing’’.
Most corporate bouts and events are sanctioned by professional sanctioning bodies such as the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association and the New Zealand National Boxing Federation.
BNZ chairman Keith Walker told The Press it got involved in corporate boxing because some of its affiliated bodies were running corporate fights.
At the time, BNZ was concerned about a lack of governance in corporate boxing so moved to put some of its own regulations in place to make it as safe as possible. But Walker said because of ongoing safety concerns, BNZ has decided to focus on its core business of amateur boxing.
‘‘Whilst most promoters run these events very professionally, we cannot impose the same level of restrictions and guidelines we would place upon organisers of amateur events,’’ BNZ said in a statement. ‘‘The amateur sport itself is heavily regulated.’’ International boxing referee David Craig told Radio New Zealand undertaking a 12 to 18 weeks of boxing training – or less – was not adequate preparation. ‘‘From personal experience you should be doing at least a year’s worth of training. It’s not only a fitness issue, it’s a skill issue.’’
There have also been calls for headgear to be compulsory in corporate boxing and for the glove sizes to be increased. Bigger gloves provide more padding to limit the impact of punches.
Witnesses said Parsons was stunned twice, prompting the referee to give him two standing eight counts in the first round before he was knocked out in the second. Parsons was not wearing headgear. A review is under way into the fight.
Meanwhile, a Christchurch boxing fitness centre has postponed its corporate fight night following Parson’s death.
Christchurch boxing fitness centre 1 More Round said its Contenders All-Stars Fight Night. had been postponed.
‘‘In good conscience we make this decision for Kain, his family and friends,’’ the centre’s Facebook page said.