Boxing: Bury's body blow for boxing

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The Independent Online
Leading figures in boxing yesterday reacted with dismay to the decision by councillors in Bury, Greater Manchester, to ban the sport on local authority premises.

The proposal to ban professional shows was passed by a narrow margin of 23 to 17 at Wednesday's council meeting in the home town of the British flyweight champion, Ady Lewis. Amateur bouts will still be allowed, but it is believed Bury is only the second council after Greenwich in London to ban fighting for money.

Council leader Derek Boden cited Mike Tyson's ear-biting of Evander Holyfield as an example of "unacceptable levels of harm" being caused in the sport. "I believe that we have a duty of care," he said.

The British Boxing Board of Control responded by seeking advice over whether it can contest the decision in the courts.

Terry Lawless, who was Frank Bruno's manager at the time of his first world title fight with Tyson, said: "No one can justify it on moral grounds, but it's a fact that boxing gets a lot of kids off the street. Then you get one of these odd occasions like the Tyson incident and people go way over the top."

Frank Maloney, manager of heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, said: "I should think Bury council have got a lot more important things to do than sit around worrying about whether they should ban boxing."