Boxing: Weight loss to be monitored

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The Independent Online

Boxers will not be able to fight shy of the scales in future if, as expected, a new weight-checking scheme is written into the British Board of Control's rule book today.

A new list of safety measures to be announced in the wake of James Murray's death after a title fight in Glasgow two weeks ago includes random weigh- ins in the weeks before title bouts to combat the effects of dehydration. The list will be part of a report from an independent working party, headed by a leading neurologist, Peter Richards, which was set up after Bradley Stone's death 18 months ago.

Fighters will have to achieve a poundage target, to be fixed by the Board's doctors, in the week or fortnight before a major contest, or the contest could be called off. The checks could happen at any time to any boxer. An across-the-board system would be very difficult to implement, but the surprise element should keep fighters to their prescribed mark.

Losing weight saps stamina and causes dehydration, a state which can make boxers more prone to serious injury. It was the major reason why the Board moved weigh-ins to 24 hours before the event. Late last year, the Board got tough with the now-retired Chris Eubank, who used to virtually cut out food and drink for a couple of days before fights to boil down to the 12st super-middleweight limit.

The more sophisticated Magnetic Resonance Imaging brain scans - the cost of which promoter Frank Warren has offered to underwrite for every British boxer in the coming year - will be compulsory and is more advanced technology than the present CT scanning. The MRI scan provides a more in-depth search of the brain and a vital preventative measure.

The rest periods for fighters stopped by knock-out - presently 28 days - could be extended in future, and similar, temporary sidelining may even be ordered for boxers involved in hard contests, even though they may have gone the distance. Neither more time between rounds nor a reduction of rounds is expected to be part of the 1995 medical package.

Writ from Lewis, page 25