Olympic boxing: Pro rules

Boxing safety is more art than science. Consider this:

“There’s no evidence protective gear shows a reduction in incidence of concussion,” Butler said. “In 1982, when the American Medical Association moved to ban boxing, everybody panicked and put headgear on the boxers, but nobody ever looked to see what the headgear did.”

AIBA’s executive committee unanimously voted to add head guards to amateur competition in April 1984, and they stayed in place through eight straight Olympics.

But the headgear has long been criticized for diffusing the impact of a blow and allowing fighters to continue sustaining more head shots for a longer stretch of time. The gear also offers no protection to the chin, where many knockout blows land in boxing, while the bulky sides of the device impede fighters’ peripheral vision, preventing them from seeing every head blow.

So the headgear is going away — except for women’s boxers, for some reason. The story says nothing about the gloves, though.

But wait, there’s more:

The amateur sport also is moving to a pro-style, 10-point scoring system, discarding the latest version of the much-criticized computer punch-count systems implemented after the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Each fight will be scored by five ringside judges with the traditional 10-9 or 10-8 rounds familiar to fans of professional boxing.

So the inaccurate system they’ve been using for the last 20-some years will be replaced with a subjective system. That’s … progress?

Olympic boxing drops head guards, changes scoring.

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