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Arguments For and Against Banning Boxing

Since completing university in England, Paul has worked as a bookseller, librarian and freelance writer. He currently lives in Florida.

Ingemar Johansson and Floyd Pattersson 1959.  Johansson and Patterson would become firm friends in later life, running the Stockholm Marathon together in 1982 and 1983. Patterson won the world heavyweight title aged 21, the youngest at the time.

Ingemar Johansson and Floyd Pattersson 1959. Johansson and Patterson would become firm friends in later life, running the Stockholm Marathon together in 1982 and 1983. Patterson won the world heavyweight title aged 21, the youngest at the time.

Boxing has been around since at least 688 BC, when the ancient Greeks made it into an Olympic game, but its modern history has often been controversial.

Fans argue that the sport encourages physical fitness and discipline, as well as providing a way for young people way to remove themselves from poverty. Critics, however, believe that boxing is barbaric, unacceptably dangerous and should be banned.

Modern boxing developed in the UK and USA in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Marquess of Queensberry rules, drafted in 1867, eventually helped boxing to make the gradual transition into being a modern sport after a long period when it had possessed only dubious legitimacy.

Below are the main arguments for and against that are employed by people debating the issue of whether boxing should be banned.

Fans of boxing argue that the sport promotes physical fitness and discipline.  Critics argue that it causes physical harm, especially to the brain, and promotes violence.  Modern boxing rules date back to the late 19th Century and early 20th Century.

Fans of boxing argue that the sport promotes physical fitness and discipline. Critics argue that it causes physical harm, especially to the brain, and promotes violence. Modern boxing rules date back to the late 19th Century and early 20th Century.

Boxing is the only sport you can get your brain shook, your money took and your name in the undertaker book.

— Joe Frazier

Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up.

— Muhammad Ali

Arguments for Boxing Being Banned

  • The sport is barbaric and no better than an organized physical assault, which would be illegal in any other context. The fact that the participants are taking part voluntarily is irrelevant—in some senses, boxing resembles dueling, which was a normal part of life for many years, but is now banned.
  • There are injuries that occur accidentally in other sports, but in boxing, causing a head injury in the form of a "knockout" to your opponent is actually one of the main objectives.
  • Although deaths that occur during fights are rare, many doctors believe that boxing should be banned because of the eye and brain injuries that can be caused by repeated punches to the head. These injuries may go unnoticed at the time, but cause the boxer serious problems in later life. There are very few professional fighters whose brains end up unscathed by the end of their career.
  • Professional boxing glamorizes violence and the concept of becoming rich and famous through physical aggression. This sends children especially the entirely wrong message.
  • Although boxing may appear to offer a quick and easy route to riches, it is in fact a poor choice. Apart from the very real health risks, boxers are commonly exploited economically and even the most successful ones can often end up penniless.

All of the sports have a safety net, but boxing is the only sport that has none. So when the fighter is through, he is through. While he was fighting his management was very excited for him, but now that he is done, that management team is moving on.

— Gerry Cooney

The German boxer, Max Schmeling, who was  heavyweight champion of the world between 1930 and 1932.  He is most famous for his two fights with Joe Louis in the 1930s, which were highly politically charged, due to the Nazi Party takeover in Germany.

The German boxer, Max Schmeling, who was heavyweight champion of the world between 1930 and 1932. He is most famous for his two fights with Joe Louis in the 1930s, which were highly politically charged, due to the Nazi Party takeover in Germany.

The trouble with boxing is that too often it ends in sadness.

— Barry McGuigan

Boxing match featuring Ricardo Dominguez.  Dominguez, a Mexican pro in the Light Welterweight division, is most famous for winning the 2009 Campeón Azteca tournament at Lightweight.

Boxing match featuring Ricardo Dominguez. Dominguez, a Mexican pro in the Light Welterweight division, is most famous for winning the 2009 Campeón Azteca tournament at Lightweight.

Boxing is like jazz. The better it is, the less people appreciate it.

— George Foreman

Arguments Against Boxing Being Banned

  • Boxing requires a high degree of physical fitness, if you wish to be successful, so it teaches young people to look after their bodies.
  • There is no general intent in boxing to injure the opponent. Rather, the primary aim is to score the most points by hitting strictly defined regions of the body.
  • The sport teaches discipline. As well as things like exercise and diet, it also informs young people when and when not to fight, emphasizing the need for establishing mental control as well as physical.
  • It also gives young people self-defense skills and can increase self-esteem, including the ability to defend themselves if physically assaulted.
  • The vast majority of boxers train and fight not because they want to make lots of money, but because they enjoy it as a sport.
  • Nobody is forced to box or watch a fight, all participants do so through their own free will. Those who don’t like the sport should just ignore it if they don’t like it.
  • Critics unfairly target boxing because it more obviously resembles a fight, rather than other sports which can be physically aggressive, such as ice hockey or rugby, where there is a puck or a ball to provide the focus. Likewise, the high degree of strategy and tactics employed by boxers are often missed by inexperienced observers.
  • Boxing is a way for people to remove themselves from poverty. Other doors may not be an option for a young boxer, such as a college education. The sport provides another route to social and economic advancement. At the very least, it can provide a sense of self-respect.

Without boxing, because of my neighborhoods, who knows what would have happened to me. It was always about following the leader. And I definitely was not a leader. Boxing gave me discipline; a sense of self. It made me more outspoken. It gave me more confidence.

— Sugar Ray Leonard

Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves.  Ali is perhaps the most famous and charismatic boxer ever.  The only three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's syndrome in 1984, a disease associated with head trauma and boxing.

Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves. Ali is perhaps the most famous and charismatic boxer ever. The only three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's syndrome in 1984, a disease associated with head trauma and boxing.

Boxing is a sport. We allow each other to hit each other, but I'm not treating my opponent like my enemy. We're doing a job to entertain people.

— Manny Pacquiao

Your opinion!

Tom "The Moor" Molineaux was an African-American bare-knuckle boxer.  Born into slavery in 1784, he won a large amount of money for his owner in bets.  He later boxed in Britain and Ireland.  He died aged 34 after sinking into alcoholism.

Tom "The Moor" Molineaux was an African-American bare-knuckle boxer. Born into slavery in 1784, he won a large amount of money for his owner in bets. He later boxed in Britain and Ireland. He died aged 34 after sinking into alcoholism.

The brutalities of a fight with bare hands, the crushed nasal bones, maimed lips, and other disfigurements, which call for the utter abolition of boxing in the interests of humanity, at once disappear when the contestants cover their hands with large, soft-leather gloves.

— John Boyle O'Reilly

Questions & Answers

Question: Who wrote the Marquess of Queensberry Rules?

Answer: They were written by a Welsh sportsman named John Graham Chambers. The rules take their name, however, from The Most Hon. The 9th Marquess of Queensberry, who publicly endorsed the new boxing code.

Question: When did boxers start having to wear gloves?

Answer: Gloves became compulsory when the Marquess of Queensberry Rules were introduced in the latter half of the 19th Century. The new rules were intended for both amateur and professional bouts.

© 2012 Paul Goodman

Comments

God on August 25, 2020:

Despite the risks involved, players participate of their own volition and therefore accept the risks posed by the sport.

Blueberry faygo on July 29, 2020:

Bruh I'm doing this topic for my school public speaking

JJ on May 18, 2020:

well, this is awkward. i mean i am the champ so obviously im against boxing being banned.

Abdul Samanah on February 05, 2020:

Boxing is a way Up out of poverty, it helps people with mental problems and overall is a Good sport.

HamishBatchelor (btw I am 12) on February 02, 2020:

boxing causes the most amount of damage to the brain than any other sport in history nearly 90 percent of boxer sufer from conflict to the brain and this is why we need to take more notice in the brutalness boxing causes

riley on December 06, 2019:

to selene and it only hurts them because they have free choice they don't need to if they have free choice

lucy on November 25, 2019:

boxing is the best

hilly marks on November 25, 2019:

Point agreed; boxing should be banned as everyone knows it makes u strong and healthy and that's important for mehh. FYI guys workout a lot u will look good

bayblade man on November 18, 2019:

I agree that boxing should not be banned because it gets you in to shape

kevin manuel sajad on November 17, 2019:

boxing can help your fighting skills which you can

use for self defence and its also entertainment.

Fally Raminbob on November 12, 2019:

Boxing is a way for people to remove themselves from poverty.

Mark on October 21, 2019:

All sports have some risk, as does everything in life. People die playing rugby, sky diving, football, jet skiing when they didn't intend to. It's always a tragedy but with boxing most participants are more aware of the risks than in other sports. Boxing has also saved many lives, many professional boxers have stated they would have lived a life of crime and probably ended up dead had they not found boxing. It can never be made completely safe but more regular brain scans for boxers could help identify potential problems earlier.

Caroline on October 17, 2019:

I just read today about a 27 year old boxer who died of brain injury after a fight and is the fourth one to die after a fight this year. Please this is not a good sport!!! It should be banned.

Liam Hawkins on September 06, 2019:

I dont think it should be banned because its the best sport going and i want to fight in the ring

Matt Flater on June 13, 2019:

I don’t think it should be banned but I definitely think fighters should be required to wear extreme protection. Headgear etc. Fighting at least in my experience produces a mutual respect between opponents after the bout. But taking those blows to the head without protection is too dangerous imo

seleny and on June 02, 2019:

Boxing should be band it hurts a lot of nice people it’s bad plz stop

Dick lovelace on November 01, 2018:

Look if it was a problem then what are kids gonna have guard them when they get older are kids would not have no nuts but guess what nut up or shut up it's the only thing keeping us alive need to know how to fight when push comes to shove I'm 15 years old and fight for money it shows who's more powerful

Sadie on October 29, 2018:

This website has been a great little way how to do a debate. It has really helped me and my debate is in two weeks and I haven’t even started yet so it has been a great

ice wall ocum on October 24, 2018:

watch me whip now watch me nae nae

Sam on October 16, 2018:

What is the point of allowing it if it is highly dangerous, causes serious severe injuries and even death

p and t on October 10, 2018:

an average of 10 people have been dying per year since 1990

Evan on September 05, 2018:

More people die horse riding and stuff than boxing

Aditya Saxena on August 05, 2018:

Boxing is morally stupid

Lunar Orbit on May 15, 2018:

I think that boxing and general combat sports should definitely not be banned, like other users have said, it would perhaps remove it somewhat from its current presence in society, although there would definitely remain pockets and underground activities still present. When we leave it legal, at least it gives us the chance to observe and examine it, and intervene and have our influence over it.

Perhaps since boxing and all forms of fighting have been around so long, we have a deeper connection to it than we think ? I mean we've been fighting amongst each other throughout the entire history of humanity, a natural born warrior species, were programmed to fight, its an instinct. Choosing to engage physically is certainly a dominate, rational strategy our ancestors would have taken, given the fact that their conditions were so harsh, it certainly was fight for your life.

To those who have trained in combat sports, as I have done for over 5 years, it can be a deeply rewarding experience, it feels absolutely amazing as well, pushing your body to its limits, overcoming fear and doubt, developing yourself as a competitor and taking part in the dance of the fight. The draw is understandable for an individual, living in the world that we do, being given a set of genes and DNA sequences and this social climate, it seems clear why fighting has evolved. Fighting sports are some of the most dynamic and physically demanding type of sports known to man.

However having trained in combats I realise and have seen first hand the symptoms most participants eventually develop.I mean, your getting thumped all over your body repeatedly until you can literally not take it anymore, many of your delicate organs which carry out the necessary life functions and being destroyed via sheer force. Is it something we should be encouraging our children and young people to do ?

I think that people should have the right to enter the sport, and that fighting gyms should be forced by law, to operate in a way which minimises the risk to fighters when training and competing. However I think that all people wanting to become a fighter must be given all the facts about it, things like the probability with which a fighter will develop brain problems compared with a non fighter, numbers of broken retenas etc all informed by the latest research on it.

Boxing gyms should also screen the people who want to become members, training should not be given to individuals who exhibit, reckless, inconsiderate behaviours, fighting gives people a weapon, their own limbs, and this can and does get used in the public domain.

Fighting sports should be conducted in a certain way, they should be taught as a means of self defence only, as a way to prevent further calamity, never to be used as a way of doing wrong, necessary harm to others. Create ethical fighters who accept the roles and responsibilities which are attached to fighting.

In my life, after having a brief amateur career, I decided to take a step back, use it as something to keep my fitness up as well as being apart of a gym social group, but to refrain from competing full contact. I even avoid sparring for the most part although I occasionally get sucked in. I would recommend BJJ as the best to join, it has many of the health benefits without the head and organ damage,

Peace out, Ill be watching from the moon

a 5th grader on April 26, 2018:

i say if they dont ban boxing at least get more gear for the players i mean i am a 5th grader and i just want to know why have boxing when it not even safe for people all around the world like i mean at least get more gear for the players

Jesus left nut on March 19, 2018:

NO nuts no fun for me

jeff on March 15, 2018:

i am black okay words hurt

Mia on February 26, 2018:

It is very complicated. One thing we know, violence will always be around. I would prefer for it to be in a regulated area rather than on the streets, and I prefer to know I can defend myself

hi on February 16, 2018:

boxing should be banned

LYM on January 21, 2018:

I think boxing shouldn't be banned because people choose to participate in this sport, they train day and night to be able to beat the best and people that think the sport should be banned , but they don't even play the sprt is wrong because you have no idea what you are taking from the players and all their hard work. Just like football, people get paid and train day and night to over come their goals and make their team or themsleves better than the day before.

FELICIA on October 23, 2017:

I think boxing shoukd be banned because, people die all the time from boxing. Also people get serious concusions and struggle later on in life.

Lunar Orbit on October 06, 2017:

I think that boxing and general combat sports should definitely not be banned, like other users have said, it would perhaps remove it somewhat from its current presence in society, although there would definitely remain pockets and underground activities still present. When we leave it legal, at least it gives us the chance to observe and examine it, and intervene and have our influence over it.

Perhaps since boxing and all forms of fighting have been around so long, we have a deeper connection to it than we think ? I mean we've been fighting amongst each other throughout the entire history of humanity, a natural born warrior species, were programmed to fight, its an instinct. Choosing to engage physically is certainly a dominate, rational strategy our ancestors would have taken, given the fact that their conditions were so harsh, it certainly was fight for your life.

To those who have trained in combat sports, as I have done for over 5 years, it can be a deeply rewarding experience, it feels absolutely amazing as well, pushing your body to its limits, overcoming fear and doubt, developing yourself as a competitor and taking part in the dance of the fight. The draw is understandable for an individual, living in the world that we do, being given a set of genes and DNA sequences and this social climate, it seems clear why fighting has evolved. Fighting sports are some of the most dynamic and physically demanding type of sports known to man.

However having trained in combats I realise and have seen first hand the symptoms most participants eventually develop.I mean, your getting thumped all over your body repeatedly until you can literally not take it anymore, many of your delicate organs which carry out the necessary life functions and being destroyed via sheer force. Is it something we should be encouraging our children and young people to do ?

I think that people should have the right to enter the sport, and that fighting gyms should be forced by law, to operate in a way which minimises the risk to fighters when training and competing. However I think that all people wanting to become a fighter must be given all the facts about it, things like the probability with which a fighter will develop brain problems compared with a non fighter, numbers of broken retenas etc all informed by the latest research on it.

Boxing gyms should also screen the people who want to become members, training should not be given to individuals who exhibit, reckless, inconsiderate behaviours, fighting gives people a weapon, their own limbs, and this can and does get used in the public domain.

Fighting sports should be conducted in a certain way, they should be taught as a means of self defence only, as a way to prevent further calamity, never to be used as a way of doing wrong, necessary harm to others. Create ethical fighters who accept the roles and responsibilities which are attached to fighting.

In my life, after having a brief amateur career, I decided to take a step back, use it as something to keep my fitness up as well as being apart of a gym social group, but to refrain from competing full contact. I even avoid sparring for the most part although I occasionally get sucked in. I would recommend BJJ as the best to join, it has many of the health benefits without the head and organ damage,

Peace out, Ill be watching from the moon

Joe Barton on May 23, 2017:

I think boxing should not be banned

Just on April 28, 2017:

Hi this is a good story and boxing shouldn't be banned

HEY SUP NOTHING MUCH on March 28, 2017:

Boxing SHOULD NOT be banned because not just boxing is dangerous, but any other sports could be dangerous. So if we ban boxing, what is going to be banned next? Volleyball? Water polo? Soccer? Football? Hockey? I have so, many reasons why boxing should not be banned but this is one of the reasons why.

ok on March 21, 2017:

sounds lit!

Max Spiller on March 15, 2017:

Boxing is cool

Person on the Internet on February 15, 2017:

I think that boxing should be banned on tv and in real life. Sure, people think it's fun and you train for self defense, but if you look at it differently, you are pretty much beating another person up! That's not cool bro.

baba on February 02, 2017:

boxing=good

teri an hortan ryder on January 30, 2017:

it should be banned because it promotes little children to fight and hurt people

A cool star on December 15, 2016:

I think it should not be banned from the earth it is because it is very important for the peoples to save from the people who love fighting

ggg on December 09, 2016:

no dont ban boxing

Enjoy every bit of life on November 05, 2016:

I vote for not banning boxing...

Mark on October 04, 2016:

There are a number of dangerous sports (auto racing, American football, rugby,bull riding rodeo, X-games sports etc) and you can't ban all of them. If it isn't banned at least adjust the rules of pro boxing: i.e. use the rules and the headgear presently found in amateur boxing to help mitigate some of the severe consequences of boxing while maintaining the skill, discipline physical fitness etc mentioned in the arguments against boxing being banning

caveman on September 22, 2016:

Boxing shouldn't be banned because the people in the ring are willingly hitting each other. No one person was ever forced to box. Most of the time it was an alternative to going to jail. If the men in the ring were forced to do what they do it wouldn't be considered a sport it would be a punishment. Every hit in boxing builds strategy skills. Constantly looking for an open hit.

conor mcgregor on September 19, 2016:

boxing should NOT be banned :)

DOUBLE MMA CHAMP AND UFC TRIPLE BELT on September 14, 2016:

Boxing, Karate, Tai Jutsu and all other forms of Martial Arts should be respected and not banned due to their cultural richness.

A guy on August 11, 2016:

Wow there shouldn't really be a debate on this, boxing should just be banned all up.

Boom

denny on October 21, 2015:

i think it should be banned because people getting hurt i dont want that

nick on August 01, 2015:

The reasons for not banning boxing were poor excuses and completely untrue. An article from neurological studies was the strongest argument by itself, and our 21st century era has outgrown boxing. What boxing officials don't seem to grasp is that boxing gloves and head protection doesn't protect because the human head wasn't designed to take much in blows, regardless if it has artificial padding around it. The protection just adds a ton of weight that moves under force and impacts the head. Regardless of how they change the regulations, boxing is meant to impact the head for force the opponents to knockout or submit when they've had enough blows.

Aaron c on May 21, 2015:

Cool

Nam on November 11, 2014:

Why people agree that bõing should not be banned

mwilliams66 from Left Coast, USA on May 29, 2012:

I am in no way a proponent of boxing. In fact I very much dislike it. This however, does not taint the fact that I don't believe it should be banned. I believe it would only serve to drive it underground.

What I do feel should be banned is extreme fighting and MMA.