BIBA To Permit Rehydration Drinks In Competition To Reduce Dehydration and also Risk of Potential Bleeds To Brain.

BIBA To Permit Rehydration Drinks In Competition To Reduce Dehydration and also Risk of Potential Bleeds To Brain.

In March this year the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) became the first Professional Boxing Commission to introduce Infra-Scanners ringside at events sanctioned by themselves, in an effort to reduce the time between diagnosis of possible bleeds to the brain following contests and the receiving of effective treatment.

Since introducing the Infra-Scanners the BIBA Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Graham, has been undertaking research into head injuries in sport as well as investigating procedures that may assist in reducing the actual risk of bleed to the brain injuries in competition.

The on-going research has highlighted a number of concerning issues, one such issue relates to volume changes of cerebrospinal fluids (CSF) which is directly related to dehydration, as such Professor Graham and the BIBA Medical Committee, headed by BIBA CMO Dr Louise Eccles, have made a number of recommendations that they believe should be introduced as they could assist in reducing the risks.

Besides the recent introduction of the ‘Rehydration Clause’ for all day before weigh-in contests, the first of these new initiatives to be introduced is that from January 2018 rehydration drinks will be permissible for consumption by competitors during the one minute break between rounds during all contests of eight rounds and over, in an attempt to reduce excess dehydration during longer duration contests, which potentially also reduces the risk of bleed to the brain injuries.

The Effect of Fluid Intake Following Dehydration on Subsequent Athletic, Cognitive Performance & Potential Traumatic Brain Injuries

A systematic review and meta-analysis (McCartney et al., 2017) of sixty-four (64) trials derived from 42 international publications indicates:

  1. A beneficial effect for fluid intake on athletic and cognitive performance is strongest when a continuous exercise task is employed (i.e., high intensity sport e.g., boxing).
  2. The magnitude of improvement is greater when the continuous exercise is performed at elevated environmental temperatures and over longer exercise durations (i.e., boxing multiple rounds, in closed environments, where temperatures are greater than standard room temperature and pressure).
  3. The volume of fluid consumed, relative to body mass (BM) lost, does not appear to influence the size of the treatment effect. The fluid intake at levels that comply with current recommendations for restoring body water content (1.25–1.50 L per kg BM lost) are as yet inconclusive. Rehydration drinks must be allowed ad libitum.

#BIBAChangingBoxingForGood

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Someone’s ‘O’ Has To Go – Decastro Vs Landaeta Showdown For IBF European Crown on October 21st

British Super Middleweight Nathan ‘Nightmare’ Decastro (9-0-0 with 8KOs) is set to challenge Spain’s Ronny Landaeta (12-0-0 with 8KOs) for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) European Super Middleweight European Championship at the Palacio de Deportes José María Martín Carpena in Malaga, Spain on Saturday October 21st.

Decastro, the current MBC International Champion, who is currently ranked #13 in the IBF Intercontinental ratings, spoke briefly on learning of the golden opportunity.

“I can’t put into words what this fight means to me, I am a fighting man and fighting is my life.

This is a golden opportunity that I will take with both hands and show everyone what I’m made of.

Huge thanks to Lee (Manager Lee McAllister) for sorting this, what can I say, I only signed with his Assassin Boxing Promotions and Management company a few weeks ago and already he’s already got me a shot at title.

To fight for any title is an honour, but to fight for a coveted IBF belt is something else.

I know this is not an easy fight, Ronny’s undefeated in twelve and has successfully defended his Spanish title twice against top class opposition, but then again he’s not fought me yet, I’m not called the Nightmare for nothing.”

Nathan’s Manager, Three Time World Champion Lee McAllister, then added

“This a cracking opportunity for Nathan to catapult himself in to the World rankings, exciting times ahead for him if he’s successful.

We know we are going into the Lions den as massive underdogs, but I will be making sure that Nathan has space in his bag for the belt when coming home.

That’s not all, If all goes well in the next few days I hope to be announcing another Assassin Boxing Promotions and Management boxer challenging for an IBF title, here in the UK this time though”

www.assassinboxingpromotionsandmanagement.co.uk

 

BIBA Afghanistan License Boxers Allah Dad Rahimi, Zafar Azizi & Waisuddin Ghawsi

BIBA Afghanistan License Boxers Allah Dad Rahimi, Zafar Azizi & Waisuddin Ghawsi

L-R Zafar Azizi, Allah Dad Rahimi and Waisuddin Ghawsi

Back in July the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) and the Afghanistan All Martial Arts Federation (AAMAF) announced that they have joined forces to create the new professional boxing sanctioning organization BIBA Afghanistan to develop boxing in the region as well as sanction events throughout the Country.

Virtually immediately the news broke local Amateur boxers began discussions with BIBA Afghanistan’s Secretary General Shukrullah Fazili. The first of these boxers, Zafar Azizi and Waisuddin Ghawsi have now made the transition from Amateur to Professional status under the BIBA Afghanistan banner.

In addition to the two Amateur boxers, one fight pro Allah Dad Rahimi has also received his BIBA Afghanistan license.

On announcing the news of the first boxers to receive their licenses, BIBA Afghanistan Secretary General Shukrullah Fazili said.

“It is a proud day for BIBA Afghanistan, to license our first boxers.

Allah Dad Rahimi, Zafar Azizi and Waisuddin Ghawsi are very good boxers and we look forward to them boxing, in Afghanistan and Internationally, soon.

The interest from boxers is overwhelming and we already have further applications for BIBA Afghanistan licenses being processed.”

 

Life Saving Brain Scanners Debut at Exclusive Boxing Event in Malta.

Life Saving Brain Scanners Debut at Exclusive Boxing Event in Malta.

Damon Booth in action against Ireland’s Marty Kayes

Last Friday evening the cream of Maltese Glitterati descended on the Le Meridien Hotel in St Julian’s, Malta, for a rather exclusive Professional Boxing event, sanctioned by the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) in conjunction with the Malta Boxing Commission (MBC).

With tickets priced at almost ten times the normal for a boxing event in the Mediterranean haven, joining the rich and famous from the Islands were in excess of sixty international high rollers, each and every one of them attending to support Damon Booth as he made his professional boxing debut, against Ireland’s Marty Kayes, as well as to watch the highly decorated multi-World Champion Scott Dixon in action against England’s Will Cairns

However, those in attendance for the swanky event were totally unaware that in the background was an historic event also taking place, as for the first time on the Islands and only the second time ever at a professional boxing event anywhere in the World, the ground breaking hand held Infra-Scanners, that can detect bleeds to the brain of the combatants, were in action both pre and post fights.

The Infra-Scanners, that were successfully introduced by the BIBA just two weeks prior, at an event in Paisley Scotland, following a number of high profile life changing head injuries incidents at professional boxing events in the UK last year, most notably the death of Scottish Boxer Mike Towell, even though these tragic incidents were on events sanctioned by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) and not by themselves.

The Infra-Scanner is a hand held brain scanner that is designed to detect bleeding on the surface of the brain inside the skull, so epidural and subdural bleeds, which are the common bleeds associated with an impact to the head, ones that can commonly cause life changing injuries or in the worse case scenario, death, in a short space of time.

Within Boxing, the Infra-Scanner is not intended to replace an MRI scan, which is required annually for Professional Boxers, but allows Doctors at Ringside to undertake a two or three minute scan, to determine if as a result of the boxing match that a boxer may have sustained an epidural and subdural bleed to the head.

Should the scan produce a positive result this will enable the Ringside Doctors to ensure that the Boxer is admitted immediately to the nearest specialist unit, where the appropriate care can be undertaken.

Dr Mark Xuereb undertakes scan on Damon Booth post fight

Malta Boxing Commission (MBC) Chief Medical Officer and British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) Medical Advisory Committee Member Dr Mark Xuereb spoke briefly after the successful introduction of the Infra-Scanners at the special event.

“My comments as a Boxing Doctor for both the MBC & BIBA and having been in this profession for in excess of ten years, I can say I’ve seen a lot of boxers and sometimes as a clinician the team has a dilemma do you refer to hospital or don’t you, which is a crucially important decision because you are potentially toying with death.

Without wanting to dramatize, this is a fantastic tool, the Infra-Scanner is a crucial tool to aid in that decision process. It’s easy, it’s simple, any paramedic or doctor can be trained to use it and it helps with the triage system, which is crucially important decision, because we decide what is current urgent versus future important.

We have guidelines for head injuries charting, whether to refer or not refer, as always this will not replace clinical assessment, however shall we say it fortifies and confirms your clinical hunch.

So easy to use, perfect, would I use in the future, absolutely, the research results are undeniable, and it’s making waves all over the world, so I would really like to thank whoever invented it because it is really going to help us as health & safety in any sport is first and foremost, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, five stars and hopefully as it develops it will get smaller and lighter, although saying that must say it is already lightweight and reasonable in size, so brilliant all round.”

Billy Corito becomes the first Maltese Boxer to be scanned using the advanced technology hand held Infra-Scanner

Maltese Heavyweight Billy Corito, who had attended the event became the first Maltese boxer to be scanned, even though he wasn’t boxing on the event had this to say about the technological breakthrough.

“I was overwhelmed to be asked by Dr Xuereb to be the first Maltese boxer to have a Brain scan using the infra-scanner.

Could not believe this little remote looking device can save a boxers life! It was so quick and easy to detect if I have an injury or blood on my brain or anyone else’s.

It was over in just a couple of minutes, so just imagine if all boxing federations have one of these on every boxing event how quick lives would be saved.

As the saying goes, boxing saves lives, well now its Infra-scanners who are saving lives”

Dr Mark Xuereb scans Scott Dixon following his bout with Will Cairns

Scott Dixon, who was the actual first competitor to be scanned post fight at the event also spoke about the infra-scanners and the positive effect he believes having them ringside will have on the sport.

I think it’s an absolute revelation that BIBA have now bought in the head scanners to Malta, before and after every contest, this is the way forward, the only way forward.

There have been a few fatalities in the ring and most notably when I had my first fight on Friday the 13th October 1995 my best friend James Murray died in the boxing ring.

It took me a long time to get over that and I always hoped and wished that the rules would become more stringent. Back then it was British Boxing Board of Control, but hey now the British & Irish Boxing Authority are ruling the waves now with their pro-active approach to boxer safety.

BIBA make it their number one priority to look after the fighters and that’s the way it should be, their regulations are amazing, so I’m delighted to be a BIBA license holder and to be the first boxer to undertake a scan after my fight here in Malta, forget the rest BIBA’s the best.

I came to Malta eleven years ago and when I came here boxing was virtually nonexistent, they never knew a left hook from a fishhook, but now they’ve progressed and moved forward, so much so that having the scanners here are leading the charge in boxer safety.

Scott then went on to praise the BIBA on their professionalism with regard to another of their procedures, this time regarding dope tests, particularly due to an unsavory brush with the local doping authority, who not only failed to follow correct procedures at one of his previous fights that was sanctioned by the Malta Boxing Association (MBA), but then decided to charge him with failing to undertake a doping request, which is currently under appeal.

“I’m also delighted that tonight BIBA even regulated the doping screening, I volunteered to take the tests as they were going to pick them at random which is standard procedure, but I volunteered as I have nothing to hide.

The true procedure is that you are notified before that you will be subject to dope testing, obviously like I said, I volunteered, I done one test before the contest.

After my fight I was escorted, to the dressing room, by BIBA officials, to make sure there was no dodgy business, I went straight to the dressing room and was observed and did another doping test.

Obviously both were clear, as always, because I’m a professional athlete, I’ve been a professional 23 years now.

Now I’ve done thirty dope tests during my career in total, the correct procedure is you be notified and like I said BIBA followed the correct procedure and in an appropriate manner.

I’m so pleased to be part of this set-up, I mean listen there are so many cowboys in this sport, let’s be honest you have the MBA here in Malta for an example, so if you want to join a circus you go with them, if you want to be part of a truly professional set up you go with MBC or BIBA, as they look after the fighters safety first and foremost and that’s the only way forward and that’s why we’ve gone with the top of the chain.”

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Life Saving Infra-Scanners Introduced This Weekend at UK Boxing Events

Life Saving Infra-Scanners Introduced This Weekend at UK Boxing Events

Jonah Roche and Professor Michael Graham with Infra-Scanner

In February the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) announced that they were set to introduce hand held Infra-Scanners, that can detect Brain bleeds, ringside at events sanctioned by themselves in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, following a number of high profile head injuries incidents and the death of Scottish Boxer Mike Towell.

The Infra-Scanner is a hand held brain scanner that is designed to detect bleeding on the surface of the brain inside the skull, so epidural and subdural bleeds, which are the common bleeds associated with an impact to the head, ones that can commonly cause life changing injuries or in the worse case scenario, death, in a short space of time.

Within Boxing, the Infra-Scanner is not intended to replace an MRI scan, which is required annually for Professional Boxers, but allows Doctors at Ringside to undertake a two or three minute scan, to determine if as a result of the boxing match that a boxer may have sustained an epidural and subdural bleed to the head.

Should the scan produce a positive result this will enable the Ringside Doctors to ensure that the Boxer is admitted immediately to the nearest specialist unit, where the appropriate care can be undertaken.

Yesterday, InfraScan Inc. representative Jonah Roche, from SkillShop.Eu, travelled to the United Kingdom to deliver the first of the Infra-Scanners as well as undertake a training session for a number of the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) Ringside Doctors and affiliated Chief Paramedics, ahead of launching the use of the Infra-Scanners at an event in Paisley, Scotland this coming Saturday.

The British & Irish Boxing Authority had made the decision to introduce the potential life saving scanners following four major head injury incidents at events in the United Kingdom last year, even though these catastrophic injuries were sustained on events overseen by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) and not on events sanctioned by them.

In January 2016, Tommy Martin suffered a bleed to the brain following the Commonwealth and WBC International Championship bout against John Wayne Hibbert.

In March 2016, Nick Blackwell was put in an induced coma due to a bleed in the skull following his British Title fight with Chris Eubank Jr, and once again in November following a sparring session.

In September 2016, Mike Towell suffered a bleed to the brain during the British Welterweight Championship Eliminator contest against Dale Evans and passed away shortly after due to the injury.

In November 2016, German based Kazakh Eduard Gutknecht collapsed in the dressing room following the WBA International Championship bout against George Groves and was rushed to hospital, where he underwent surgery to relieve swelling on his brain and, whilst still in a coma, was transported to Germany in December.

In February this year BIBA Vice President Gianluca Di Caro wrote to BBBofC General Secretary Robert Smith, offering the use of the scanners for any boxer licensed by themselves, should they be suffering headaches or nausea following sparring or a contest, however this offer was refused and shortly after Mr Smith made the following statement to Boxing News Magazine.

“We’ve looked into it and we’re still looking into it,” Robert Smith tells Boxing News.

“We want to make sure they are accurate, and ensure the people using them are qualified to do so. We have asked many doctors, and received many opinions.

Ultimately, it seems it is too early to tell if this technology will be suitable for boxing. We will continue to look into the possibility of implementing them because safety has been paramount to us for many years, and will continue to be so.

“Nobody has said to me that this is definitely the way to go, because at this time, it’s just too early to say. In the future, after further research, they might be. It will be discussed in detail at our medical seminar in the summer.”

Chief Paramedic Martyn Morgan undertaking scan on Jonah Roche as Professor Michael Graham looks on.scanners

Following the introduction training course, Renowned Sports Forensic Scientist and BIBA Deputy Chief Medical Officer (D-CMO), Professor Michael Graham MBChB; JCPTGP; PhD; FRSM; MPhysoc; BASEM; MICR; MCSFS; PCCMH; APIL Expert; FSB, stated;

“The growing recognition of sports-related brain trauma creates an ideal application for the Infra-Scanner.

In contact sports like Boxing, Football, Karate, Mixed Martial Arts and Rugby, and others, the Infra-Scanner can provide field-based diagnosis and assist in the decision whether to evacuate an injured athlete to a hospital for immediate investigation and medical or surgical management.

The Infra-Scanner has been subject to a substantial number of Controlled Research Studies, around the World, and has already proven 80-100% selectivity and 90-100% specificity.

In addition there are over two hundred Infra-Scanners in use by the American Military, as this equipment was developed specifically for them for use in the field, as well is currently undergoing further trials at St Mary’s Hospital and The London Air Ambulance.

The Infra-Scanner is proven to accurately detect intracranial haematomas using the unique light-absorbing properties of haemoglobin, which is located within blood, and the non-invasive, non-ionizing nature of Near Infrared (NIR) technology.

Enormous advantages of the Infra-Scanner for speed of diagnosis are:

Portability, Infra-Scanners weighs just 400 grams.

Patient measurement is completed within 2-3 minutes.

The Infra-Scanner detects haematomas greater than 3.5 ml in volume, as well as detects haematomas up to 2.5 cm deep from the surface of the brain, or 3.5 cm from the skin.

I expect that such technologically advanced equipment will become mandatory at all public and private events, within a very short period of time.

Failure, by sporting organisations, to have the Infra-Scanner and personnel trained in its use will ultimately invalidate sporting licenses and insurances and result in enormous medical negligence claims.

Already it is clear in Boxing alone, that deaths from intracranial haemorrhages could have been prevented, if the Infra-Scanner had been present and used as a diagnostic tool.

As such we at the British & Irish Boxing Authority are extremely proud to introduce this technology at events sanctioned by ourselves, as we believe they will prevent future tragedies in the sport.”

The Infra-Scanners will be introduced Ringside at the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) sanctioned event promoted by Gerard Boyle-Welsh at the On-X Centre, in Paisley, Scotland this coming Saturday.

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Hand Held Infra-Scanners, That Detect Brain Bleeds, Introduced by BIBA For Professional Boxing Events In The United Kingdom.

 

Hand Held Infra-Scanners, That Detect Brain Bleeds, Introduced By BIBA For Professional Boxing Events In The United Kingdom.

 

The British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) are set to introduce hand held Infra-Scanners, that can detect Brain bleeds, at events sanctioned by themselves in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

Sky News’ Health & Science Correspondent, Thomas Moore, highlighted the benefits of the use of the Infra-Scanners, that can detect brain bleeds with an accuracy of 90%, often before any symptoms such as headaches or confusion become apparent, following the death of Mike Towell last year at an event sanctioned by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC).

In the article Mr. Moore stated “Compulsory brain imaging using Infra-Scanners could be “massive” for boxers who risk death from professional competition.”

On announcing the introduction of Infra-Scanners, that will be available ringside at events sanctioned by them, BIBA Vice President Gianluca Di Caro said.

“We are extremely proud to be the first to introduce Infra-Scanners at events in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as we whole heartedly believe having them ringside will significantly prevent further tragedies within our sport.”

Before expanding further and explain what had led to the decision to introduce the use of Infra-Scanners at BIBA events;

“Following two major head injury incidents last year, one that resulted in the death of Mike Towell, even though neither were on events sanctioned by ourselves, the BIBA board had decided to actively seek solutions regarding improving the way that injuries such as these can be detected as quickly as possible. The first move we made was to appoint renowned forensic sports scientist Professor Michael Graham PhD to our Ringside Medical Officer & Medical Advisory Board.

Professor Graham led the esteemed team that produced the internationally published papers “Direct Hits to the Head During Amateur Boxing is Associated With a Rise in Serum Biomarkers For Brain Injury” & “Should an Increase in Cerebral Neurochemicals Following Head Kicks in Karate Influence Return to Play?”

Professor Graham and his esteemed team are currently researching the short-term and long-term effects of head injuries in Rugby as well as preparing, in conjunction with ourselves and a prestigious UK University, a long term research project to assess cognitive function following brain trauma.

Around the time of the appointment of Professor Graham, our CMO, Dr. Louise Eccles, proposed that we should investigate obtaining Infra-Scanners, as the use of these would massively assist in detecting problems such as a bleed on the brain quickly, especially as there is only a limited amount of time to assess the location of such an injury.

Following Louise’s advice, I contacted the manufacturers and am extremely proud to say that the initial trial unit will arrive later this month, hopefully in time for the 26th February event in Bradford, that features two ten round International contests.

We have initially ordered two Infra-Scanners which will be operated by Professor Graham and Dr Eccles at our events, and are aiming to order a further eight units over the coming twelve months, so that every BIBA Ringside Doctor will have an Infra-Scanner available by 2018.

Both the appointment of Professor Graham and the introduction of Infra-Scanners, are just two pro-active decisions made by ourselves with regard to Boxer Health & Safety, there are more to come, as Professor Graham and another of our Ringside Medical Officer & Medical Advisory Board, Dr Mark Xuereb have also proposed the introduction of further safety measures, one of which is the introduction of Cognitive Testing, which will come into force very soon.

We believe that Boxer Health & Safety is paramount, as such we will continue researching procedures that can assist us provide the very best medical evaluations possible.”

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BIBA Appoint Professor M.R. Graham, Ahead of Introduction of Cognitive Testing Procedures in 2017.

BIBA Appoint Professor M.R. Graham, Ahead of Introduction of Cognitive Testing Procedures in 2017.

The British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) have appointed renowned sports injury specialist Professor Michael Graham MBChB; PhD; FRSM; BASEM; MICR; MCSFS; PCCMH; APIL Expert; FSB to their Medical Advisory Board headed by the eminent Dr. Louise Eccles M.D. MBChB DRCOG FP Cert LF Hom, to develop additional boxers Health and Safety procedures, such as the Cognitive Testing Procedures that the BIBA are set to introduce early in 2017, both as part of their licensing procedure as well as the post event medical.

Professor Graham is the leading researcher in projects that involve close collaboration with hospital consultants, which has resulted in multiple publications in peer reviewed international journals and international presentations and is also currently the visiting Professor to the Ningbo University in Zhejiang, China.

Professor Graham led the esteemed team that produced the internationally published papers “Direct Hits to the Head During Amateur Boxing is Associated With a Rise in Serum Biomarkers For Brain Injury” & “Should an Increase in Cerebral Neurochemicals Following Head Kicks in Karate Influence Return to Play?” Professor Graham and his esteemed team are currently researching the short-term and long-term effects of head injuries in Rugby.

On announcing the appointment, the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) CEO & Executive Vice President Mr. Gianluca Di Caro stressed the importance of specialist health and safety procedures, especially with regard to the area of concussion.

“I am extremely proud that Professor Graham has joined our Medical Advisory Board, he is a, if not the, leading specialist in sports injuries and more importantly head injuries.

I believe it is our role to provide the highest level of health and safety procedures for the boxers, such as pre-licensing medicals, brain scans, blood screening etcetera’s as well as the ringside medical procedures and post fight medical.

Over the past twelve months, the issues of the effects of concussion within sports, not just the realm of Boxing, but also Football and Rugby, has been receiving an increased amount of mainstream media attention. However, practice appears to remain unchanged and archaic.

Whilst most of the column inches and air time has focused on the long term effects on the lives of those sports men and women that have endured concussion, there has not been much written or broadcast about the procedures that the individual sports organisations initiate in their efforts to prevent serious long term effects.

Professional Boxing has always been the leader in this particular realm, with specific rules in place for when a boxer is stopped or knocked out during a contest, to prevent return to play, prematurely.

In the BIBA case, besides the standard post fight medical checks by the ringside doctors, if a boxer is stopped, the boxer’s license is automatically suspended and the boxer may not compete, or spar, for a minimum 28 days, which is increased to a minimum 90 days if knocked out and unconscious for any period of time, no matter how short, as well as receive medical clearance, including in some cases an MRI scan, before they can compete again.

Compare that to other sports, such as Football and Rugby, where it seems the ‘magic’ sponge is deemed enough and a player that is seriously concussed could be back on the pitch playing again after just minutes.

However even though Professional Boxing procedures, especially our own with regard to concussion, are without doubt the best in the world, we at the British & Irish Boxing Authority believe that there is still a need to improve the procedures currently in place and am looking forward to the introduction of the new standards, including pre-licensing and post-fight Cognitive Testing procedures, being developed specifically for us by Professor Graham, Dr. Eccles and the BIBA Medical Advisory Board members.”

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Decastro Stops Tetteh to Secure First Title – Kayes, Becelis, Cairns Impressive in Victory.

Nathan Decastro with BIBA Vice Chairman Jennifer Burton
Nathan Decastro with BIBA Vice Chairman Jennifer Burton

Decastro Stops Tetteh to Secure First Title – Kayes, Becelis, Cairns Impressive in Victory.

On Saturday night, at the Arena UK in Grantham, Lincolnshire, local gym owner Russ Brown made his maiden outing as a professional boxing promoter and boy oh boy did he do it in style.

Whilst most people would start off at a small hall venue with a few local ticket sellers heading up the show, Russ Brown approached it a little differently, a full blown Arena show headed up with Championship bouts headlining, originally was due to be three, but due to last minute visa issues the main event, the World Super Bantamweight Unification contest between South Africa’s reigning World Boxing Federation Champion Gabisile Tshabalala and British #1 and current MBC International Champion Marianne Marston, had to be rescheduled so the irritating bureaucracy issue could be sorted.

With no Tshabalala-Marston World Unification bout, it was local unbeaten star Nathan Decastro, in his first title battle, against the highly experienced Championship campaigner Ishmael Tetteh, from Ghana, for the vacant MBC International Super Middleweight Championship that was elevated to headline the show.

Before I get onto the fights themselves I have to say how pleasant it was to be at an event where the entire audience welcomed each and every fighter to the ring with rapturous applause, that included Tetteh, who they welcomed in the manner a star fighter deserved and not a single jeer or boo to be heard.

However that paled into insignificance compared to the reception local star Decastro received, the sound was deafening and it seemed that each and every person in the arena was cheering on their man at the top of their voice as he made his ring walk.

The vocal support continued throughout the fight itself, with the fans ringside cheering every exchange, and believe me there were plenty as this was an exceptional all out toe-to-toe war that could have been fought in a phone box.

Young Decastro wasn’t overawed, far from it, instead he rose to the occasion and showcased the exceptional skills that belie his tender years.

Don’t get me wrong this wasn’t a one way affair, Tetteh is a tough, classy operator that gives his all for every second of every round and he was in sensational form, matching the local lad punch for punch in the early rounds.

The turning point in the contest came midway through the fourth, Decastro landed a wicked body shot that sent the Ghanaian down to the canvas. Tetteh is as tough as they come and just as World class referee Richie Davies reached the seven count made his way to his feet.

On the restart Tetteh went hard on the attack, however Decastro’s ring-craft soon came into play, spinning Tetteh so it was him with his back against the ropes and the Lincolnshire lad once more in control.

Round five was a virtual repeat of the fourth, both fighters standing toe-to toe, letting rip with huge shots to body and head right from the off. As in the previous round around the midway mark Decastro let rip with a big combination culminating with a vicious body shot to send Tetteh down to the canvas once more, this time though there was no chance that the tough Ghanaian would recover sufficiently to beat Richie Davies’ count.

The overjoyed crowd went ballistic as Decastro was presented the MBC International Championship belt by Vice Chairman, Ms. Jennifer Burton and the celebrations went on for a good forty minutes or so.

On a side note I doubt there are many times in a boxers career that they are inundated with requests of hand shakes or selfies from fans of the opposition, but Ishmael Tetteh was, even in defeat he must have felt like the champion, quite rightly so in my opinion as he gave his all throughout the contest and made this a fight to remember.

The second Championship bout was for a World Boxing Union (WBU) UK Regional title, contested by big hitting local lad Gary Silverman and Belfast’s Marty Kayes.

The height difference between the two protagonists was really noticeable, Silverman is tall, very tall, and towered over the seemingly diminutive Kayes, however the Belfast man clearly had a plan of getting on the inside as much as possible to neutralize the reach advantage of his foe and implemented it to perfection,

The Belfast man’s performance was sublime, when not on the inside Kayes’ busy movement made life exceptionally hard for Silverman.

Throughout the bout Silverman switched tactics in an attempt to give himself the space to let rip with his patented power shots, however each time he did Kayes would find a way to neutralize any advantage the Grantham lad had gained.

After eight rounds of highly entertaining boxing it came as no surprise that Richie Davies’ scorecard read 80-73 in favour of Belfast’s Marty Kayes.

Prior to Silverman-Kayes was a sensationally closely matched Cruiserweight contest between Dainius Becelis and James Higgy.

I’m a huge fan of the Cruiserweight division, mainly due to such stars as two time IBF World Champ Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham and former WBO, WBC & WBA Champion David Haye, who dominated the division back in the late noughties. In fact I love the Cruiserweights so much that a few years ago I wrote and had published the full history of the division.

Anyway that aside, on Saturday night I was overjoyed to watch two future stars of the division in action and what a closely fought contest it was.

I always hoped that one day Steve Cunningham and David Haye would fight each other as it would have been an all action affair, a true showcase for this exciting but underrated division.

Well that never happened but if it had it would have been very similar to the Becelis-Higgy bout without doubt, so you can imagine how chuffed I was to be ringside for it. Yes it was that good.

It really was a cracking, closely fought, all action affair, so much so by the start of fourth round I couldn’t separate them and honestly expected it to end up a draw, however Becelis managed to pull off a very close victory due to his performance in the final round, don’t get me wrong Higgy performed brilliantly in the fourth too, just Becelis stepped it up enough to secure the win.

Definitely Fight of the Night in my view. After four of the most exciting rounds of boxing I have seen in a long, long while Referee Matt Scriven scorecards read 39-38 in favour of Dainius Becelis – side note: the referee’s scorecards read 1st Round 10-9 in favour of Becelis, 2nd round 9-10 in favour of Higgy, 3rd round was drawn and of course round four 10-9 to Becilis.

Prior to the Becelis-Higgy bout was another closely fought contest, this time a four round middleweight bout between local lad Scott Newcombe and Stockport, Cheshire’s Will Cairns.

As with Becelis-Higgy this was another well matched all action affair that could so easily have ended up a draw, just in this case Cairns superb performance in the early rounds was enough to see him secure the bout by a single point. Referee Matt Scriven scoring it 39-38 for Will Cairns.

The second pro bout of the night see Michael Robinson take on Scunthorpe’s Andy Pirie in a Middleweight contest.

It’s proving hard for me to come up with enough superlatives as each fight on the show were superbly well matched.

As with the Newcombe-Cairns or the Becilis-Higgy bouts, this was another that could have gone either way as both warriors gave their all for every second of each and every round and it really was hard to separate them, performance or points wise, clearly not just myself as Referee Matt Scriven scored it a 39-39 draw

The opening bout of the night see Grantham’s Mickey Blackburn in action against Hyde, Cheshire’s Will O’Reilly in a four round Super Welterweight contest.

Once again the matching was spot on, and as with each and every fight on the night was a closely fought and highly exciting affair, so much so that after four enthralling rounds it really was hard to call a winner, again not just myself as Referee Matt Scriven clearly had the same dilemma as he scored it a 39-39 draw.

After the show promoter Russ Brown said.

“Other than the disappointment on not having Marianne (Marston) fight, the show was spot on.

I wanted my lads to be in competitive fights, and they were, yes I know a couple lost or drew their fights but so it goes. To my mind this is professional boxing and if they are going to make it to the top they need to have competitive fights and they did.

I’m really pleased the way the show went and would like to thank the BIBA (British & Irish Boxing Authority) officials who did a great job, especially the referees Richie Davies and Matt Scriven, who were spot on with their scoring.

Looking forward to planning the next show, believe me it will be even better.”

Have to congratulate Russ Brown and his team for not just hosting a superb event but also for the matching, It really is a breath of fresh air that a promoter doesn’t try to ‘build’ his fighters careers by having them face ‘journeymen’ for the first ten fights or so, instead preferring his lads to face proven young fighters right from the off, you just don’t see that very often these days.

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Amir Khan and the BIBA Successfully Launches Pro Boxing In Pakistan – Inaugural Event Featuring British & Irish Boxers Raises 8 Million PKR For Charity.

Amir Khan and BIBA Successfully Launches Pro Boxing In Pakistan – Inaugural Event Featuring British & Irish Boxers Raises 8 Million PKR For Charity.

It may have only been 4:30 in the morning, but the heat was stifling as the Emirates A340-300, that carried the contingent of international boxers and officials from the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) that were to take part in a charity pro boxing event promoted by two Division World Champion Amir Khan just two days later, made it’s final approach into Karachi Quaid-E-Azam International Airport in Pakistan.

The pugilists and officials on-board flight EK 0604 from Dubai last Tuesday couldn’t have had the slightest inkling of the reception they were going to receive, not just on arrival but also over the following three days, if they did they hid it well.

As the group exited the plane and headed towards passport control along with their fellow passengers, a squad of security officers singled them out, and instead of joining the seemingly never ending conga of exhausted passengers, that were aimlessly shuffling between the rope barriers, they were lead to a security desk far removed from the passport control booths.

Normally this scenario would cause concern to a traveler, however from that moment on it became crystal clear to all those in the party that this was not the normal welcome an international traveler would receive, not by a long shot, this was the reception reserved only for the most important of VIPs.

After clearing passport control in record time and with the security detail flanking them the boxers and officials were greeted by the ever smiling Tahir Khan and his team from Khan Promotions and led to a convoy of awaiting vehicles.

Heading up the convoy was an army truck containing a team of heavily armed Rangers, under the command of the highly decorated Captain Abbas, and to the rear another heavily armed vehicle, this time a Police truck, again with a heavily armed squad aboard.

Once all aboard the team were escorted at high speed through the streets of Karachi to the palatial 5 Star Pearl-Continental hotel, where even though having an army and police escort each vehicle was checked thoroughly by the hotel security team.

Once clearing the security gate the BIBA team were lead into the opulent foyer, which was close to the dimensions of a premiership football pitch, where each received the key cards to their stately rooms.

Whilst some went straight to their beds for some much deserved sleep, BIBA CEO and Executive Vice President Gianluca Di Caro and World Boxing Union (WBU) Super Flyweight World Champion Tasif Khan received their media itinerary for the coming days, which started just 90 minutes later, where they were to join Amir Khan as studio guests of the highly popular radio City FM89 Morning Show host Khalid Malik, for those in the UK think Chris Evans level of popularity and double it.

Following the thirty minute segment with Khalid Malik, Amir and Gianluca were then spirited to a local TV news studio for further interviews before returning to the sumptuous Pearl-Continental for lunch.

Following lunch, Amir was joined by his father, Shah, Liverpool’s Dayle Gallagher, who was one of the boxers on the event and BIBA’s Gianluca Di Caro to be part of a thirty minute interview, hosted by the exquisite Anoushey Ashraf for her hugely popular chat show.

Just an hour or so later Gianluca and Dayle were joined by Amir’s brother Haroon ‘King’ Khan, WBU Champ Tasif Khan, Preston Cruiserweight Stuart Maddox, Belfast’s Phil Townley, World class referee Richie Davies and coach Stephen Speed in the lobby, ahead of another escorted trip across Karachi, this time for a meet and greet at the Dolmen Mall in Clifton.

None of the group could possibly have been prepared for the reception that awaited them, as literally thousands of fans crammed into the huge three level American style shopping mall, each and every one of them greeted the boxers and officials as if they were the biggest of Hollywood stars.

Once in the Greenhill prepared show ring each was inundated for requests of selfies or to pose for photos for a good thirty minutes or so before the star attraction himself, Mr. Amir Khan made his entrance to rapturous applause and cheers.

After Amir had finished his personal greeting to the assembled fans he was joined by Haroon, Tasif, Dayle and Stuart at the front table to sign autographs and pose for selfies with the fans, whilst Phil Townley, Richie Davies, Stephen Speed and Gianluca Di Caro moved around the ring posing for selfies with the overwhelmingly welcoming fans.

Once the meet and greet was over, Amir and the BIBA entourage were escorted at high speed back to the Pearl-Continental, to have a quick shower and change ahead of another special event, where Amir opened the majestic new Tai-Pan Chinese restaurant and each and everyone of the BIBA team were special guests also.

The following morning, whilst Amir and his father Shah were being interviewed live on the Geo Morning Show, BIBA Chief Inspector Stephen Smith and Scunthorpe Cruiserweight Jody Meikle had arrived at Karachi Airport, where they too received the full VIP treatment including the high speed Army and Police escort.

Shortly after lunch Amir, his team, the Boxers and BIBA officials made the short walk to the Zaver conference hall at the Pearl-Continental for the press conference.

To outside observers it must have seemed that the press conference was for the biggest of the World Championship contests, as there were so many TV crews and media in attendance as well as a host of dignitaries.

After Amir had made his presentation about the event, the Amir Khan Trust and it’s aims, he opened up the floor for questions, whilst most were about the event one of the journalists put him on the spot by asking, “as it was announced today that professional boxers can now box at the Olympics would he be representing Pakistan in Rio” Amir diplomatically answered that it would be an honour, but he has contractual obligations with his promoter to consider, before adding, that whilst he would love to represent Pakistan in Rio, that he really believes that the opportunity should be there for a young fighter, as it was such an honour when he had been presented the opportunity to compete in the Olympics for Great Britain, when he was just seventeen and that was the springboard for his professional career, as it would be for any Pakistani boxer that competed at Rio 2016.

As with every media event the BIBA contingent were treated as if they were major World stars with each being interviewed and photographed by the media.

After a quick meal Amir and the BIBA team were once more escorted at high speed by the army and police across Karachi to a public workout at Frere Hall in Clifton.

Once again there were so many media, along with thousands of fans in attendance as the boxers individually entered the ring for the workout, after which each was inundated with media interview requests and selfies with the fans.

This event was so popular that it overran by quite a margin and it would not be until just after 11pm that Amir and the fighters etc finally were escorted back to the Pearl-Continental.

With just the single media event on Thursday, as it was fight night, Amir and the boxers gathered at the elegant venue for the seriously swanky dinner event at the Pearl-Continental Marquee Conference Hall for a media photo opportunity.

The BIBA fighters, who had all been presented with team outfits courtesy of Khan Promotions sponsor Greenhill, happily posed for individual shoots as well as group photos with Amir.

After the shoot the team had a couple of hours to chill or grab a bite to eat before the big night, well most of them, as Tahir and Gianluca still had work to do.

The night started with Amir making a speech and a presentation of the Amir Khan Trust project to raise the money to build water wells in the region of Thar, an area that has been described as the poorest in the World.

Originally there were to be four professional bouts, however that was not to be as prior to leaving the UK Haroon picked up an injury. To make matters worse just days before the fight Tasif’s opponent Francis Croes tore a ligament in his arm, forcing him to pull out.

Some quick calls from Tahir see a female amateur bout, featuring two seventeen year old friends from Lyari, Saira and Ambreen being added to the bill and opening the show

Before the pro fights though the important matter of raising funds for Amir Khan Trust, firstly from donations and then through an auction of Amir’s personal belongings, such as signed shorts, gloves, paintings, posters etc

Both were a massive success, with the Amir Khan Trust receiving donations that amounted to the equivalent of twenty much needed water wells and the auction itself incredibly raising close to 8 Million PKR.

The historic first pro boxing bout to take place in Pakistan featured Liverpool’s unbeaten Dayle Gallagher against Belfast’s Phil Townley in a four round Middleweight contest. Officiating the contest was no less than World renowned Referee Richie Davies.

Right from the off the two protagonists went to war, the experienced Irishman going straight on the attack, the Liverpool youngster kept his cool and got behind his jab to keep the ever advancing Phil Townley at bay.

Dayle, initially taking a controlled countering approach, then proceeded to showcase his exceptional skills against his much more experienced opponent, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all one way traffic but the Liverpool youngster put on a sublime controlled performance that belied his tender years.

After four superb exciting rounds of boxing Referee Richie Davies declared the bout 40-37 in favour of Dayle Gallagher.

The second pro bout of the night, see Scunthorpe’s Jody Meikle in action against Preston’s Stuart Maddox in a four round Cruiserweight contest.

What an intense closely fought contest, both protagonists went at it with gusto, much of the time it could have been fought in a phone booth as they stood toe to toe slugging it out.

After four rounds of pugilistic action Referee Richie Davies scored the bout 39-36 in favour of Stuart Maddox, which whilst without doubt correct doesn’t project just how close a fight this was.

Finally singers Bilal Saeed and Adeel Chaudhry performed sensational live sets as the guest enjoyed their sumptuous dinners.

Speaking after the event, Amir Khan said

“First of all I want to say thank you to all the lads that took part, they are all winners in my eyes, flying out here to Pakistan and fighting here, even Tasif, who didn’t get to fight, as his opponent Francis Croes was injured the day before he was due to fly over, however Tasif still came here and has been part of all the build up to this big fight, because he could have stayed in the hotel and not done anything, he’s got family here in Pakistan but he said no, he wanted to stay with the team.

This is what Boxing brings, we’re like one big family, you know we all stay together.

I’m so glad I’ve done this in Pakistan, because it’s opened a new door for me to do more boxing events. I’m definitely going to do it again with BIBA, I’d love to come back to Pakistan and give Pakistan the fights they want.

Tonight’s event raised a good amount of money for a place called Thar, the reason I am doing it here is because Thar is rated one of the poorest regions in the World. The Government don’t help the place and nobody talks about this place.

Kids are dying, thousands of kids are dying every month you know there’s no clean water, it’s like a desert, we are going to provide water wells, it doesn’t cost that much but will save so many lives and that will make me so happy, so I am doing this for them. I’ve enjoyed doing the boxing event, so we can build these wells, the reason we and the boxers flew over from England is for the people of Thar.

It shows a lot of balls these fighters and officials to come over here, because the media implies that Pakistan is not a safe place to visit, but these boys have shown balls by coming and fighting here to help me to raise money for the people of Thar.

Not just that but it’s all about doing these promotional events and putting on these fights in order to introduce a new sport, professional boxing, to Pakistan. This will motivate all the kids to go to the gymnasiums and our academies, so it works in many ways.”

Amir then went on to thank the companies and individuals that got behind the historic event.

“I would like to thank HBL for being the lead sponsor of the HBL Superstar Boxing Event, IRIS Event Management, Reema Siddiqui, Omar Satti and Xenith PR for putting together such a great event, BIBA for bringing international boxers to Pakistan, The 42 – Day Challenge and Phegency PR for the public workout event, Hashoo Group, J.Fragrances, Greenhill, National, Dolmen, Red Crescent, BlueEX, Careem, City FM89, FHM and last but not least the Rangers for their support.”

Final word has to go to BIBA’s CEO & Executive Vice President Gianluca Di Caro.

“I cannot begin to express how much I admire and respect Amir, throughout the many media events not only has he given his time so freely to sign autographs or have his photo taken with the fans, but still found the time to spend an extraordinary amount of time meeting with sponsors and dignitaries to ensure the event successfully went ahead.

Amir’s passion for the project has been infectious, so much so that every single one of the boxers and officials that came over have already committed themselves to help raise further funds for the Amir Khan Trust, in fact Dayle Gallagher donated his purse for the night, Stuart Maddox has asked that £100 from each of his future purses go to the AKT and Stephen Speed is paying for one of the wells to be built, and as an organisation we are going to raise funds at every future event we sanction.

I also have to say I am overwhelmed by the reception we have received here in Karachi, I have never experienced anything like this in my life, I will treasure the memories of my time here, I have loved every second of it, I have met so many wonderful people here and have to say the fans at the Dolmen Mall and the public workout at Frere Hall were amazing.

I would like to say a very special thanks to Captain Abbas and his team of Rangers and the Sindh Police for looking after us so well on the special events away from the hotel and also Dr Muzzummil Pervaiz and the Pakistan Red Crescent, who provided the medical coverage for the team, as well as to, Arshad Nazeer and Imran Khan from the Pearl-Continental Marco Polo Restaurant and Pearl-Continental’s Director of Food and Beverages Mr. Muhammad Aslam Khan for their exceptional hospitality and introducing us to some fantastic local delicacies.

I just hope that our being here will open the door to more International sportspeople coming to Pakistan to compete, as well as hope that people from around the world come and visit Pakistan, it’s a beautiful country and the people here are so friendly and welcoming, I know I can’t wait to come back again and will do so in the near future for sure.”

For further information on the Amir Khan Foundation (UK) and the Amir Khan Trust (Pakistan) please go to www.amirkhanworld.com

This event is sanctioned by the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA). For further information please go to www.boxbiba.com

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Marianne Marston Vs Gabisile Tshabalala Unified World Title Fight July 2nd

 

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Marston to Challenge Tshabalala for Her World Crown on July 2nd

Over the past week or so the World’s press have been focusing heavily on the recently announced 9th July Tyson Fury-Wladimir Klitschko WBO-WBA-IBO Unified Heavyweight Championships rematch. Quite rightly so, it’s a huge fight, however just one week earlier, an equally World significant unification bout is also set to take place right here in the United Kingdom.

On July 2nd, at the Arena UK in Grantham, Lincolnshire, World #15 and British #1 ranked Marianne Marston will not only be challenging South Africa’s World Boxing Federation (WBFed) Super Bantamweight World Champion Gabisile Tshabalala for her coveted crown, but will also be aiming to secure the World Boxing Union (WBU), Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) and Universal Boxing Organization (UBO) World accolades.

London based Marston, who was originally due to challenge Unathi Myekeni for the Bantamweight version of the WBFed strap back in December, that was until Myekeni was forced to withdraw following a hand injury, is clearly relishing the belated opportunity, as she made clear when she spoke earlier.

“I cannot thank WBFed President Howard Goldberg enough for making this happen, like me he was so disappointed when Unathi (Myekeni) pulled out injured last year.

In addition to Howard, I would also like to thank WIBA President Ryan Wissow, WBU President Don Lewis and Sebastien Pitois from the UBO, as they have been so supportive throughout my career, so to also challenge for their Championships really is so special for me.

I’m forty two now, so honestly thought after Unathi pulled out, that’s it for me, I’ll never get the chance to fight for a World title, OK that’s not quite true, I could have fought for a vacant title, but to me that’s just not good enough, I want to fight the best, I want to beat the World Champion.

I’ve seen video of Gabisile, when she fought Shannon (O’Connell) in 2013, but would very much like to find any video of her when she won the World title last year. I know how much I have changed, fight wise, since 2013 so really want to see if there are any changes to her style or tactics.

From what I have seen, she’s a classy fighter, very quick hands. When she fought Shannon, she was mainly counter punching, which would suit me, but for some reason I have a feeling she will have a very different approach as a defending Champion.

Either way, this will be a great fight for the fans, there’s such a contrast in our styles and in my view it’s those differences in style and tactical approach that will make this such a great fight to watch.

British boxing is booming, we have so many World Champions at the moment, Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Kell Brook, Carl Frampton, Lee Selby, Liam Smith, Jamie McDonnell, Lee Haskins, Tony Moran, Craig Docherty, Terry Flanagan, Anthony Crolla, James DeGale and of course my old gym mate at the TKO, Billy Joe Saunders.

Obviously they’re all men, so I want to redress the deficit a little and join them, as well as be the first British Female boxer to be crowned World Champion since Jane Couch beat Jaime Clampitt for the IWBF title in 2004.”

Gabisile Tshabalala Vs Marianne Marston for the WBFed, WBU, WIBA and UBO Super Bantamweight Unified World Championship headlines the Russ Brown promoted AS GOOD AS IT GETS event at the Arena UK in Grantham, Lincolnshire, UK on Saturday 2nd July.

This event is sanctioned by the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) www.boxbiba.com

Tickets: Priced £30 (Standard Seated) and SOLD OUT (Ringside VIP) are available online at www.tkoboxoffice.com and www.mariannemarston.com

Please show your support and follow Marianne Marston on Twitter @MarianneMarston or on Facebook www.facebook.com/marianne.marston and www.facebook.com/MarianneMarstonFanPage – or see her websites www.mariannemarston.com and www.goldengirlboxing.com

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