Young Victor Boxing


New blood test law for boxers

PROFESSIONAL boxers will be required to have blood tests every six months under a new law introduced in State Parliament yesterday.

Fighters taking part in combat sports such as boxing, muay thai (or kickboxing) and some mixed martial arts contests such as full-contact karate will be regularly screened for blood-borne infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B and C.

The legislation also requires professional boxers and combat sport contestants to undergo regular fitness testing.

Fighters will compete only when they have the required skills and experience to do so.

Dereck Herbert from the Australian Academy of Boxing said the legislation would protect the safety of fighters.

"Professional boxers can come from anywhere and have anything," he said.

"If a professional boxer is fighting someone with an infectious disease and blood is involved, their career could be destroyed."

Key points of the Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Bill include:

THE need for the Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Board to cancel or suspend a contestant's registration if the contestant lacks skills including defence and tactical awareness.

ONLY allowing people with specific knowledge to perform the role of timekeeper.

REQUIRING all fighters to take fitness tests, making the title of professional boxer more difficult to obtain.

Mr Herbert said there was nothing to prevent people from becoming professional, regardless of their standard.

"(Many) amateur boxers who turn professional are not competent enough," he said.

Sport Minister James Merlino said the law would protect competitors and the integrity of the contestants.

"It is vital that professional boxers and combat sports contestants only compete when they have the required skills . . . to do so," he said.

"In a sport such as boxing and in combat sports like kickboxing, it is critical to test for infectious diseases throughout the contestant's period of registration."

There have been two deaths in professional boxing in Victoria since 1996: a boxer died in Melbourne in that year and a second man died in a fight at the Collingwood Town Hall in 2001.

Chair of the Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Board Bernie Balmer said he supported the legislation.

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