Male boxers will not wear headguards at Commonwealth Games
Male boxers at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will not wear head guards for the first time since 1982, with experts claiming it is actually safer for the athletes’ health.
Head guards have been used at all international amateur competitions since they were introduced before the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, but research has shown they actually increased the number of head injuries.
Women’s boxing, however, which makes its Commonwealth Games debut in Glasgow, will continue to use head guards, as not enough research has been done in the relatively new sport for the same change to be made.
Doctor Mike Loosemore of the English Institute of Sport (EIS) has worked with British Boxing since 1997 and believes the rule change is a ‘positive development’.
He said: ‘Evidence has found that, when they introduced head guards in 1984, the number of head injuries increased. The number has actually decreased since head guards have been removed. The style of boxing has changed a little bit because the boxers’ heads are not getting quite so close and I think it’s made it a bit more interesting to watch. It’s a positive development. The boxing’s better without the head guards and it’s reducing the number of head injuries, which is low in this sport anyway.’
Dr Loosemore said the number of concussions are lower without a head guard primarily because boxers do not feel so confident and therefore take fewer risks with their bodies. He told Sportsmail: ‘When you have a head guard on you are more likely to get an injury. There are several reasons for this: it could be that head guards restrict your vision slightly, so you don’t see the punches coming, and maybe that the head guard increases the size of the head so you get more rotational force (when you are hit). The referees also can’t see the boxers so clearly, so they can’t see when they’re in trouble. But the most likely reason is people just feel more confident with a head guard on. They don’t put their head in a position where it can’t get hit. That’s the most persuasive argument for me.’
The men will also fight under a pro-style 10-point scoring system as part of rule changes by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) last year.
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Daily Mail, Male boxers will not wear head guards at Commonwealth Games for first time in 32 years as experts say it is safer without them [Laura Williamson | 21 July 2014]