`Ban blows' to the head


A British Labour MP is hoping to put a Bill through parliament which could see boxers charged with assault or manslaughter if their opponents are seriously injured or killed.

Paul Flynn, MP for Newport West, was speaking after Paul Ingle had a blood clot removed from his brain following Saturday's IBF featherweight title fight with South Africa's Mbulelo Botile.

The Scarborough fighter is still in a "critical but stable" condition at Sheffield's Hallamshire Hospital.

Flynn, who also wants to ban blows to the head in boxing, said: "At present if boxers kill or seriously maim their opponents in the ring, they cannot be charged with assault or manslaughter because they have a defence that they were acting within the rules of the sport. My Bill will remove that defence.

"Boxing is unique in encouraging blows to the head," Flynn added. "A boxer can receive hundreds of blows to the head in a single bout."

Flynn said the Bill was not seeking to ban boxing but to "outlaw blows to the head in the same way that blows below the waist are banned now", allowing the sport to continue "without the carnage".

Simon Block, general secretary of the British Board of Control, said injury was an inherent part of the sport.

"To say it should be banned when there are far more dangerous sports out there is ridiculous," he said.

"I didn't hear much from the British Medical Association when five people died three-day eventing. That is a very dangerous sport."