PROFESSIONAL boxers will be required to have blood tests every six
months under a new law introduced in State Parliament yesterday.
Fighters taking part in combat sports such as boxing, muay thai (or
kickboxing) and some mixed martial arts contests such as full-contact
karate will be regularly screened for blood-borne infectious diseases
such as HIV and hepatitis B and C.
The legislation also requires professional boxers and combat sport
contestants to undergo regular fitness testing.
Fighters will compete only when they have the required skills and
experience to do so.
Dereck Herbert from the Australian Academy of Boxing said the
legislation would protect the safety of fighters.
"Professional boxers can come from anywhere and have anything," he said.
"If a professional boxer is fighting someone with an infectious disease
and blood is involved, their career could be destroyed."
Key points of the Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Bill include:
THE need for the Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Board to cancel
or suspend a contestant's registration if the contestant lacks skills
including defence and tactical awareness.
ONLY allowing people with specific knowledge to perform the role of
REQUIRING all fighters to take fitness tests, making the title of
professional boxer more difficult to obtain.
Mr Herbert said there was nothing to prevent people from becoming
professional, regardless of their standard.
"(Many) amateur boxers who turn professional are not competent enough,"
Sport Minister James Merlino said the law would protect competitors and
the integrity of the contestants.
"It is vital that professional boxers and combat sports contestants only
compete when they have the required skills . . . to do so," he said.
"In a sport such as boxing and in combat sports like kickboxing, it is
critical to test for infectious diseases throughout the contestant's
period of registration."
There have been two deaths in professional boxing in Victoria since
1996: a boxer died in Melbourne in that year and a second man died in a
fight at the Collingwood Town Hall in 2001.
Chair of the Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Board Bernie Balmer
said he supported the legislation.
As seen in