Boxing stalwarts are calling for a review of charity boxing events after a man was left fighting for his life following a fight.
Kain Parsons was critically injured in a match against Steve Alfeld during the Fight for Christchurch event at Horncastle Arena on Saturday night. Parsons was not wearing headgear.
It's understood he is fighting for his life in intensive care at Christchurch Hospital. A district health board spokeswoman said the family had requested privacy, and was unable to make further comment.
The news has rocked the boxing community, sparking calls for urgent safety changes.
Boxing New Zealand coach John McKay said the incident was a tragic turn of events and something that needs to be dealt with on a wider level.
"I think corporate charity bouts need to be tightened up in terms of the requirements before they get in the ring to fight."
McKay said requirements should include full medical assessments and a declaration of fitness.
"What we also need to do is restrict the age limit. I don't know how old this guy was but I would think anybody over the age of 45 shouldn't be allowed to fight if they haven't been involved in contact sport before.
"I think the training of the boxer really needs to be looked at critically, and one would wonder if three months alone is enough.
"Perhaps there is a requirement for a registered, qualified boxing coach to be doing the training, rather than having family members in the corner."
McKay was also an advocate for fighters wearing headgear.
"I believe they should wear headgear for their own safety. Perhaps it might not stop them from getting knocked out but certainly when they hit the floor heavily, at least the headgear will give them some protection and will certainly protect them against cut eyes."
However, former boxer and corporate event organiser Andrew Asher disagrees and said headgear doesn't protect you from a knock out.
"But it does obstruct your vision and make you feel safe when you are not," he said.
"The distraction of wearing headgear and the loss of vision completely outweighs any reduction of a head clash."
Asher said a mouthguard would be more effective.
"The common misconception of course is that it keeps your teeth in, the truth is it stops your jaw slamming shut at high speed – and it is this concussive impact of the bottom teeth hitting the top ones that is often the cause of a knock out."
Outspoken boxing enthusiast Sir Bob Jones also believed headgear wasn't the solution.
"That is a myth. Headgear if anything is very bad," he said.
"The reason the boxers wore headgear initially in training was to prevent them getting cuts on the eyebrow which is a really vulnerable area for cuts.
"That was translated as somehow giving them head protection or brain protection which it doesn't.
"The brain gets jolted in boxing by a punch, it doesn't matter if there is headgear in front of it. That has now been acknowledged and it serves no purpose at all other than protecting the eyebrows."
But Jones also supported the need for change around charity boxing fights.
"I am always deplored at this so-called charity boxing and I have always tried to stop it.
"Like other things, it is potentially dangerous if you don't know what you are doing," he said.
"You can't put blokes in there banging away at one another without expecting some repercussions.
"As for persuading local well-known identities to put on boxing gloves and go up against someone else when they have no idea what they are doing, and certainly the noble art of self-defence doesn't come into it, I don't like it. It is distasteful and it is dangerous."
Fight for Christchurch event promoter Callam Mitchell today confirmed he has started a detailed review of the incident.
Since the event's inception in 2010 it has operated under the regulations governing corporate boxing, and is sanctioned by the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association (NZPBA).
Mitchell said this means all contenders undertake two medical examinations, including one on the day before their fight.
The event is also officiated by referees and judges from the NZPBA, all of whom have longstanding and extensive experience within the sport.
"Given many contenders have no previous boxing experience, they are selected and matched based on a number of factors including their size, height, weight, previous experience if any, and any other sporting history," he said.
"We have four reputable boxing gyms responsible for training the contenders and we take often take input from them regarding contender and match-up suitability."
While headgear was currently optional, this is in line with the NZPBA, Mitchell said.
"We also note that commentary by experts in media during the past 24 hours illustrates varying opinions on the matter. Some say it should be mandatory, while others say headgear prevents fighters from feeling the full impact of blows and therefore are more likely to suffer concussion."
Mitchell said it was too early to say whether the event would occur in the future, however changes would be made if it were to proceed.
These changes would be based on the outcome of the review, and in discussion with the NZPBA and local boxing coaches.
"Our thoughts remain with Kain and his family.
"I can confirm that in addition to the 12-week training programme for this event, Kain had taken up boxing for fitness reasons about 18 months ago.
"He'd attended at least one Fight For Christchurch event and was very enthusiastic at the prospect of taking part and helping raise money for charity."