Boxing is one of those sports that looks easy but it is not. It does not take long to learn that much. Try holding your arms up for three minutes.

Then imagine using them to try to punch an opponent while also using them to try to stop him (or her) punching you.

Boxing is so hard, physically and mentally, that it presents a challenge to any fitness enthusiast. Fit young women as well as men enjoy its challenge these days. But others are not approaching it properly.

Two Sundays ago we reported one Auckland gym had stopped hosting "corporate fight nights" after a man was knocked unconscious in the ring and did not regain consciousness until he was on his way to hospital in an ambulance. "It was traumatic for everybody there," said one of those fighting that night.


Last Sunday, a second gym told us it was no longer running corporate events after a man was concussed and hospitalised for four days in April. His wife says his future health is still under a cloud.

Today the owner of that gym admits he has no interest in training amateurs for corporate fight nights, though claims they do get qualified trainers for the 12 weeks' training they receive.

Corporate nights are obviously lucrative for a sport that does not attract many paying spectators to events that lack a name like Joseph Parker at the top of the bill. Corporate nights obviously also appeal to people who fancy their prospects with their fists — and even more of a drawcard for those who enjoy seeing their mates step into a ring.

It is hard to resist watching people step up and try to survive a battering, as the promoters of televised celebrity boxing well know. But the pleasure is brief. Bruised bodies pummelled to exhaustion are not pretty and their ordeal did not look like much fun.

Harry Otty, and Auckland amateur boxing coach, has put it best. "You can't play-box," he said. "You can play football, you can play tennis, you can't play boxing."

You need to know how to do it properly or you should not do it at all. It's too dangerous.

Other sports in which head knocks happen accidentally are taking special care to minimise them these days. Boxing cannot do that, knock-outs are the climax of its contests.

But it's not for the daring and foolish.