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'Michael Norgrove and the Criticism Facing Boxing'
We were all deeply saddened to hear about the recent death of ex-Repton boxer Michael Norgrove. His tragedy affected many people in the sport and has reopened the debate about the safety of amateur and professional boxing.
Opponents of the sport have responded to Michael’s passing away by criticising the dangerous nature of it, but seem to have overlooked the degree to which boxing seeks to protect its competitors.
In Michael’s last fight, referee Jeff Hinds immediately noticed his erratic movement and loss of balance and ended the fight. Professional medical staff were in the ring straight away to deal with Michael and he was in hospital receiving treatment only twenty-five minutes later.
The response from the officials and emergency services was extremely admirable and this is typical of a sport that does the utmost to safeguard its competitors’ wellbeing. Anyone with a real knowledge of boxing understands the extremely rigorous levels of protection afforded to boxers.
The last one to die as a result of a match in the UK was James Murray in 1995, over seventeen years ago. Considering the thousands of professional and amateur fights that are scheduled each year, this is an impressive statistic and something that is often conveniently ignored by critics.
In Michael’s case, there was simply nothing more that could have been done. He had recently undertaken his mandatory annual MRI scan and was seemingly perfectly fit and healthy; ‘The Zambian Hitman’ was even winning his last fight and on course to record a sixth straight career win.
His friends, family and trainers all provided him with tremendous support and the staff who dealt with him following the incident all performed their duties with the clinical effectiveness that has become the high-quality standard for the sport.
So, given the freak nature of Michael Norgrove’s acute injury, why is a sport that prides itself on safety still gathering such criticism?
There will always be those who condemn contact sports, especially one such as boxing where the majority of blows are aimed at the (usually unprotected) head. This criticism is to be expected but what would realistically happen if its detractors got their way and boxing was banned?
The sport would not simply disappear overnight and, with a lack of professional funding, the stringent guidelines and safety procedures that keep boxing so safe would no longer be maintainable.
Instead, we must continue to focus on further improving boxing’s already exceptional degrees of competitor safeguarding and promote these standards more widely. The more aware we make the public, the greater the respect and appreciation for the sport will be, which can only be a good thing for the honourable men and women who work so hard to keep boxers safe.
To find out more about Michael Norgrove and the issues facing boxing, please read thislaw blog on the case.
The Repton Boxing Club would like to Thank Daniel Yeo for writing this Tribute for Michael.