Boxing as unsafe as any sport
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The official cause of Vishal Sawant's death was cerebral haemorrhage due to blunt trauma injury. The 17 year old boxer had collapsed in the ring in the final round of his bout at a local tournament. It's but a matter of time when boxing will be indicted as inherently dangerous. But to be fair, at the risk of seeming callous, there are sports which claim far more lives. Statistically speaking jockeys,mountaineers and even american footballers are far more likely to lose their lives for the love of their sport than a boxer. Even soccer— a non contact sport has seen its share of tragedies last year. Two footballers died on the field in India while the EPL narrowly avoided tragedy in the case of Fabrice Muamba who suffered heart failure during a game.
And those boxing numbers include professionals alongside their far more guarded amateur compatriots — a category which included Sawant. The latter have the benefit of bigger, more heavily padded gloves and headgear. They need to box fewer rounds — three as against 12 for the professionals. Referees are expected to step in at the moment a boxer appears to be outclassed. Even their scoring — until last year flurries of punches were discouraged by scoring them as just one point — had been geared to reduce injuries.
Yet deaths in the ring occur and they are as disturbing as they are surprising. You're in the ring with an opponent whose main objective is to punch you, and punch you hard. So no amateur boxing is not inherently safe either.
In professional boxing medical tests are carried out before bouts with boxers who have conditions that are likely to be exacerbated are banned from competing. Medical exams are conducted in the amateur setup as well but are rudimentary at the local level tournaments in which Sawant competed.