Boxers fighting in corporate events in Auckland will face stricter rules including the compulsory use of headgear after industry heads agreed to draft guidelines to try to lessen the number of serious injuries.
A last minute meeting at ABA Stadium yesterday saw about 30 boxing heads from across Auckland gather to nut out safety standards.
Auckland Boxing Association president Paul McSharry, who called the meeting, said he was concerned at the number of fighters getting seriously injured and wanted to do something about it.
He said he now had enough information to draft up a report for figureheads to mull over to try to prevent fighter injuries.
"I think we got through quite a lot of things. We went through the history of boxing .. to ensure we're protecting the boxers and therefore protecting the sport."
McSharry called the meeting after three serious incidents so far this year - the death of Wellsford woman Lucy Brown, who died after a sparring session, Joel Rea, who was knocked out after eight seconds into his heavyweight bout and a corporate fighter at Boxing Alley who was hospitalised for four days in April.
Some of the new rules included making headgear compulsory and ensuring all corporate fighters are registered to ensure they're fighting opponents of the same skill level.
Another option is making fighters over 100kg use bigger gloves to soften the impact on their opponents.
Fighters over 40 would also have extra requirements to tick off before getting in the ring.
"There's some simple things to start with. That's ensuring headgear is compulsory for corporate boxers because we've got to save some people from themselves.
"Professionals don't wear headgear. Corporate boxing is run under the same organisation as professional boxing so it's always been optional if you want to wear headgear ... and it's just a mess, really."
He said headgear was no longer worn by Olympic fighters because evidence proved it didn't stop concussion.
"That's true but its purpose is, it stops the heads clashing ... the cuts have gone up something like 30 or 40 per cent since they've put the headgear away [from head clashes]."
He said the ABA would probably end up supplying the equipment to boxers.
"We can start with equipment but the paramount thing will be coaching. We will look at registration books for corporates. They won't be allowed more than say three to four fights, maximum, as a corporate boxer.
"Anything after that they've got to go and find something else to do or become a boxer."
There were some corporate fighters in Auckland who had notched up more than 10 matches.
"They're not corporate boxers, they're boxers, and it's unfair ... it's supposed to just be a one-off event, to tick off the bucket list."
He said those fighters were often "gym bunnies and their gym profits from corporate boxing".
Corporate boxing in New Zealand was just allowed to "take off".
"We didn't create it, it created itself. We couldn't marshall it so we didn't try to but over recent years the ABA has hired out its venue to corporate boxing promoters. And obviously twice this year a corporate boxer has been hurt.
"So I either do something or I do nothing. And I've decided to do something. So basically we'll take it out of the hands of the promoter and it will be under some stricter guidelines, moreso at the ABA."
He would now spend the rest of the week drafting up a report for those who attended the meeting to mull over "and see where it takes us".