AIBA President C K Wu spoke during a symposium on orofacial trauma in boxing here ©AIBA

International Boxing Association (AIBA) President C K Wu has today reiterated the importance of education in protecting boxers' health, during a specialised medical conference on orofacial boxing injuries here in Qatar’s capital.

Following the launch of AIBA’s "HeadsUp!" initiative earlier this week to encourage boxers to adopt a more upright style in the ring, Wu made a guest appearance at the conference held in the Middle East’s first specialised orthopaedic and sports medicine hospital, Aspetar.

Running in conjunction with the 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships here, the hospital played host to a symposium of worldwide specialists, who were there to discuss orofacial trauma in the sport. 

In 2012, AIBA’s Executive Committee unanimously passed the motion to end the use of headguards in all of their elite men's competitions on the back of the AIBA Medical Commission’s study of 11,000 AIBA bouts around the world.

The following year's World Championships in Almaty, the first not to feature headguards in three decades, showed a decrease in the number of concussions compared to the 2011 competition in Baku, it is claimed.

"The safety of boxers is our top priority," said Wu at the conference.

"There was a perception that headguards improved that, but our research shows concussions have actually dropped since their removal in 2013.

"The fact that there have been zero instances of concussion and just five cuts during the 2015 World Championships proves that we are on the right path."

Aspetar's audiotorium played host to the symposium on orofacial trauma in boxing
Aspetar's audiotorium played host to the symposium on orofacial trauma in boxing ©Aspetar

The Medical Commission has been working behind the scenes at boxing competitions throughout this year, concluding with a series of HeadsUp! workshops with World Championship referees here to help them anticipate issues before they occur and to warn boxers leading with the head.

The training of coaches will also be part of the ongoing education of the boxers in a bid to ensure that they go into bouts, not only with the correct stance, but the right mind-set to ultimately change the behaviour of leading with the head that came with the psychological protection of guards.

"Prevention is always better than treatment, and AIBA is one of the first boxing associations to have an integrated injury prevention programme," said Dr Khadri, chairman of the AIBA Medical Commission.

"We are taking a holistic approach to modify the boxers' behaviour and encourage a more upright stance to minimise the risks to health."

The 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships are set to conclude this evening with gold medals due to be decided in the flyweight, lightweight, welterweight, light heavyweight and super heavyweight divisions.

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