Boxing is one of the most popular sports around the world. Nations send their top athletes to compete for championship belts and Olympic medals. We’re used to seeing grown men share the ring with each other, throwing well coordinated punches to break down their opponents.
The techniques required to throw accurate and efficient punches typically take years of training and discipline to master. In some cases we witness rare athletes who only need a single punch to take down their opponent, such as current heavyweight competitor Deontay Wilder.
Wilder is a unique athlete in that he started his training at 20 years old. The fact that he was heavyweight champion of the world and has amassed a 42-1-1 record is nothing short of spectacular, considering many professional boxers start training as children.
Not everyone can possess the one-punch knockout power resting in Wilder’s right hand. Others must master the art of head movement, footwork, and timing to be successful as a professional boxer. These techniques take decades to learn. To properly train to become a boxer, you must find a boxing gym in your area and surround yourself with good coaches who know how to utilize your athletic abilities.
Boxing gyms can be expensive. With the money and popularity associated with the sport of boxing, why haven’t high schools sanctioned it as a competitive sport?
The obvious answer is that to compete in boxing, students would be signing up to get punched in the face, a concept that isn’t appealing to most parents or school officials. Although this may be true, it’s also fair to point out that many other violent sports are sanctioned and supported by high schools, such as football and wrestling.
“Yes, I do believe boxing should be a high school sport,” said Aoex Ayala, the head coach and owner of Renaissance Boxing in Jacksonville, Florida. “It helps with discipline, dedication, and hard work. It’s very physical, improves strength and conditioning, and is a very good outlet for problems at home.”
When asked how the sport could be made safer, he said: “Headgear and bigger gloves. It would also need to be managed properly.”
Another boxing coach, Martin Velez, addressed the issue in a Yahoo post: “Yes, boxing should be allowed in all high schools. It’s an amazing workout routine that teaches hand-eye coordination and self-discipline.
“In the 10th-grade year, students should only lightly spar and learn discipline. They should not compete until the 11th- and 12th-grade years once they understand discipline.”
Many argue that boxing could encourage bullying, as you’re essentially training students the art of beating up another human being. The injuries associated with the sport are evident as well. Witnessing a man get knocked out cold can be horrifying, even more so if it’s a 16-year-old student in front of his classmates.
Even with proper headgear, competing in boxing can result in broken noses, broken orbital bones, and facial swelling accompanied by blood. It’s fair to question whether or not we should allow teenagers to compete in a sport built around physically damaging your opponent.
I believe boxing should be sanctioned as a high school sport as long as it’s properly managed and designed to be as safe as physically possible. High quality head gear, extra-padded gloves, and allowing only a few short rounds would be the best approach to making the sport safe enough for students. We’re already gearing up 13-year-old high school freshmen with helmets and pads to run into each other in football. Is boxing with padded gloves and headgear really that much more dangerous?
Written by: Cameron Jones