Story: Kweku Zurek
Former Ghanaian middleweight champion, Napoleon Tagoe, says the International Boxing Association (AIBA) decision to ban amateur boxers from competing with headgears will result in young fighters retiring early or suffering serious brain injuries.
AIBA's executive committee unanimously voted to add headgears to amateur competition in April 1984 but in June last year, it banned the use of headgears.However, Tagoe owner of the Will Power Boxing Gym, believes that this practice is dangerous, calling for the re-introduction of headgears for amateur boxers.He insists that all the amateur boxers under his tutelage will fight with headgears.
He said: “It is a very bad decision; these youngsters are not yet professionals and might not get to that level because of the injuries they will sustain in their youth.
“As a professional boxer, I got paid to be hit on the head but some of these amateurs start as early as 17 years, just imagine them taking a few heavy punches directly to the head for no money.
“My new project with Goldstar Airlines aims to find talented amateur fighters between the ages of 15 and 17. We were at the Jamestown Roundabout last Sunday, this week it will be Gbese also in Accra, and all the amateur fighters will wear headgears for adequate protection”, Tagoe stressed.
Tagoe also contended that the practice of professional boxers engaging in strenuous sparring sessions when they were not preparing for fights was another practice that had to be discouraged.