Letter: Boxing: the camaraderie and the tragedy

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The Independent Online
From Mr Anthony Potts

Sir, I was pleased to note in your editorial "Boxing: the final blow?" (16 October) that you accept that the risks of death in boxing are extremely low, and further, that whatever the risks, boxers choose to enter the ring, and accept that whatever may happen inside is a consequence of that freely made decision.

I was, however, surprised to see it stated as fact that the object of boxing is "to punch a man so hard that he can't stand up again".

Whenever I entered the ring as a boxer, my sole aim was to score more points than my opponent. Of course, this involved a risk to both of us, but I no more intended to cause physical injury to my opponent than a rugby player does when tackling the opposition hard.

The point must be made that, in both situations, something is happening in which a person's actions risk the life of another person. If we can accept injuries caused by rugby as acceptable, then we should accept that two athletes be allowed to compete in their chosen sport of boxing. If intentions are being questioned, one should compare the spirit of camaraderie between boxers with the air of dislike so obvious between some of our other sportsmen.

Yes, it is a tragedy that James Murray was killed by boxing, and the sport would be changed for the better if this risk wasn't there, but the risk is there, and boxers do understand this.

I was happy that I had the opportunity to compete; it is my belief that it is not my place or that of boxing's detractors to take away the right of others to do the same.

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Potts

London, E14

16 October