No to more char­ity fights

The Press - - News - Stuff re­porters

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.

Kain Par­sons

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