2018 IBF Convention, Day Four

By Boxing Bob Newman

Day 4 of the 35th annual IBF convention in St. Vincent, Italy began with the medical seminar at 9:00 a.m.

Dr. Massimilliano Bianco spoke on the effects of the Female Athlete Triad. The triad consists of eating disorders, osteoporosis and amenorrhea (lack of menstrual cycle). A study Dr. Bianco was involved with showed female boxers actually suffer less injuries in the ring. Contributing factors may include shorter rounds, possible less punching power. Natural female hormonal processes can and do also affect the triad.

Dr. Rick Weinstein talked on Orthopaedic Injuries in Boxing. Weinstein distinguished very common injuries such as hand, jaw and facial fractures from the more serious cervical spine (neck) injuries or fractures. Weinstein didn’t limit his review of boxing injuries to just bones, but also cited muscular, tendon and ligament injuries. Mike Tyson and Yuri Foreman famously injured their knee cartilage in mid-fight. “Rix Ringside Tips” for ringside physicians in the event of fight sustained injuries included:

*Immobilize/protect suspected c-spine injuries
*Firmly touch any suspected injured areas – check range of motion and strength
*Compare to opposite arm or leg
*Deep squat to test knee

Dr. Paul Wallace essentially continued where he left off last year with “Hydration And Weight Class.” Wallace intended to connect this topic with the IBF’s stance on weight gain after the official weigh-in.

5% water loss is considered medically serious. >10% water loss if critical. 10-15% water loss and hospitalization is recommended. Wallace explained that in many cases, rehydration can have a worse effect on the body than dehydration. This is the crux of the IBF’s stance that a fighter not regain excess weight through rehydration after the official weigh in. The amount of weight considered excess is under review at the moment and has been debated between and actual weight, such as 10 pounds, or a percentage such as 7% to 10%. Dr. Wallace will be presenting his and the IBF’s case on June 8th in downtown Los Angeles at the Summit on Dehydration. The president of the IBF, WBC, WBA and WBO are all expected to be in attendance. Outside of medical science, health and safety, the IBF maintains that if a fighter exceeds the weigh regain allowance after the official weigh in, their title will not be at stake. It is the goal of the IBF and Dr. Wallace to convince the other three sanctioning bodies to jump on board for the health and safety of the fighter. Stay tuned for more.


At 1:30 p.m. the referees’ seminar was conducted by Mark Nelson and Tony Weeks.

Nelson presented a brief video at the outset paying homage to some of the “old guard” in refereeing such as Frank Cappuccino, Arthur Mercante and others. He then went into “dos and don’ts” as a referee. Starting with how to get into the game as a ref in the first place. Nelson stressed humility and starting out in the amateurs, putting the work in and climbing the ladder. In this day and age, social media plays a huge part in everyone’s lives, but Nelson stressed not posting opinions online or in your workplace on a fight before it happens, and for that matter, afterward. “Always be professional.”

Tony Weeks then delved into the course of action and responsibilities of the ref during the dressing room instructions. Some role playing took place with Weeks and Nelson acting as chief seconds and several real life refs as the referee giving dressing room instructions. Attention being paid by the fighter and his corner to the ref was stressed. For example, fighters shouldn’t have their ear buds in, listening to music.

Nelson discussed, in his opinion the importance of brevity during the center of the ring instructions. There were already rules meetings the day before, then dressing room instructions. Nelson stated that ring center instructions are more ceremonial than anything else and makes for good TV drama.

Nelson then moved on to the ref’s mechanics in the ring during the fight. Positioning, movement, hand signals for slips, no knockdowns, low blows and even stopping a fight are all important.

When should a referee stop a fight? Nelson listed indicators such as:
*Strong fatigue
*Change of skin color
*Open mouth with heavy breathing
*Unbalanced stance or gait
*Lack of muscle control
*Claims of strong headache
*Pupillary changes
*Bad cuts or lacerations
*Dazed look or disorientation

Fouls such as low blows, hitting after the bell and holding were all reviewed as well as how to deal with them. Should points be taken? Was the foul intentional, did it cause harm? These are all points for consideration according to Nelson.

TKOS/Technical knockout reasons:
*Boxer is outclassed
*Excessive punishment
*Unable to continue due to an injury caused by a fair blow or simply don’t want to continue
*Corner stops the bout
*Ringside physician recommends or intervenes

In closing, the seminar impressed that the referee has an obligation to the boxers, the promoters and the fans.

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