HELL IN THE RING: Fans Enjoy Bouts, But Boxers Suffer It All


Every profession has its own hazards, and sports generally are no exception. But, boxing ranks high as a dangerous sport. Although the number of boxers who have died as a result of the sport is not accurately known. It does however appear that death rates are much lower in some sports such as table tennis, basketball, athletics and a few others that have minimal body contact.

   P.M.SPORTS Weekly is not out to discourage boxers with this story. Rather, our special report is to sensitise all intending boxers to be careful and plan well before they enter the ring. As our headline suggests; ‘Hell In The Ring’. Many boxers have various stories to tell about the punishment they receive from their opponets. But, the irony of this sport is that millions of fans enjoy watching boxing, not minding the pains which the boxers go through in the squared rope.

Every profession has got its own hazard and sports is no exception. An electrician could be electrocuted in the course of his duties just like an offshore engineer could fall into an oil ridge. But why get punished or killed sometimes deciding to become a professional, just like the boxers other professionals that go to their respective stations with the best of gadgets to safeguard their lives, the case of a professional boxer is quite different because he only has his tooth guard with him.

The difference between an amateur boxer and his professional counterpart is the head guard. A professional boxer steps into the ring without his head guard exposing him to series of punches, which definitely exposes him to different health implications.

What could prompt a young man or woman take up boxing as a profession knowing the hazards involved in it? The answers may vary but all still boils down to an established, saying “No pain, no gain”. Since time immemorial boxers have on several occasions lost their lives in the ring, just like other professionals that have also died in the course of doing their legitimate jobs but for boxer, his mind is ever ready to be beaten blue-black in the ring.

Former National Lightweight champion, Akeem Akinbode, who is now based in the United States of America, USA had a near-death experience in the ring during a bout before he left in search of the proverbial greener pastures.

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Akinbode had told this writer before the bout that he was going to minced meat of his opponent but at the end of the day he was at the receiving end. To crown it all, Akinbode couldn’t chew gala even as he struggled to utter a statement, like “I was charmed” with his jaws struggling to move, he admitted that he believes for him to be the best he must beat the best stating “Nothing comes so easy for any boxer, some boxers have received the pummeling of their lives from me, so I’m just telling any boxer that is aspiring to hit it big to be prepared for the worst”.

The assistant of the National Boxing Team, Babatunde Laguda didn’t hide his feelings as regard the subject of discourse as he vehemently argued that boxing is a hazardous sport just like every profession but the area, where his thoughts differs has to do with the health implication attached to it.

He did made mention of former World Heavy Champion, Muhammed Ali, who ruled the boxing world for a very long time but now suffers from a disease called Parkinson.

He posited that if legendary boxers like Ali could be having problems now that means it is either a boxer suffers pains in the ring or they could still come later in life, “Ali’s case something that should baffle people because things as not as rosy for him as it was that shows that nothing comes so easy”.

Give or take, boxing is a sport just like other sports but why should someone leave his family and friends to get pummeled instead of other hazardous-free jobs? Only stakeholders of the game can shed more lights on that.

—Tunde Oyedele/Adebobola Alawode

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