The Australian Medical Association said Wednesday that next week’s clash between Azumah Nelson and Jeff Fenech should be stopped and all other boxing matches banned.
Boxing matches, whose primary aim is to render your opponent unconscious by belting them about the head, are very dangerous,” Victorian president Douglas Travis said.
Fenech, 44, admitted yesterday that as a younger man he would have supported a ban on a clash between a 44-year-old and a 49-year-old.
If I heard at 21 that people would fight in their 40s, I’d say they are crazy,” he said during a two-hour training session in South Melbourne.
I’d say they are stupid, that they should be banned.
I would never have thought a 44-year-old could get this fit. In a way, I would say I am crazy now.
I have gone through a lot of pain to get where I am today. I’ve got sore hands. But I feel stronger and I feel smarter.”
Both Fenech and Nelson have been declared fit to fight by ring doctor Peter Lewis.
Tuesday night’s clash will be their third since 1991.
Fenech said he would still question a fight between two unfit boxers and supported regulation of the sport.
While there was a risk either man could die, he could also die crossing the road.
I’m not out to kill anyone, but if that happens, that’s life . . . if I die, it would be doing what I love,” Fenech said.
He said he had no hesitation getting in the ring.
I just want to prove to a lot of people who have doubted me that I can beat Azumah Nelson,” Fenech said.
Not only did I beat him the first time (in 1991) and got robbed, but if I had not been so stupid and thought I was invincible I could have won the second time.”
Nelson — Ghana’s top sporting hero — refuses to admit anyone could be killed.
I’m too tough to get hit,” he told the Herald Sun.
A champion is always a champion. This is not killing, this is boxing. That’s why the referees are there.”
Dr Travis said the AMA did not support any form of boxing, irrespective of the fighters’ age, and would continue to lobby the State Government until the sport was banned.
But Professional Boxing and Combat Sport Board chairman Bernie Balmer said the board didn’t oppose the fight and accused the AMA of jumping in for publicity.
They have both been passed as fighting fit, so we have no problem with two middle-aged blokes jumping into a ring and having a go,” Mr Balmer said.
Both guys are skilled and world champions. If they encourage people in their 40s and 50s to get off their backsides, then it’s a good thing.”
Though NSW has a 35-year age cut-off for boxing bouts, Mr Balmer said the Vodafone Arena clash could have gone ahead in any other state.
It’s probably a sad day for any sport if the cutoff day is 35,” he said.
Source: Herald Sun (Australia)