Two fathers are calling for a ban on white collar boxing fights because their sons tragically died after participating in such matches. In 2017, Richard Peck discovered his son Alastair, who was 44 years old, dead two days after he took part in a boxing event in North Yorkshire to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Several years later, John Chapman’s son Dominic, a 26-year-old content writer, collapsed during a white collar fight at a nightclub in Birmingham and sadly passed away in April 2022. Both devastated fathers decided to speak out after hearing about another person, Jubal Reji Kurian, who reportedly died after a boxing match in March this year.
All three incidents happened during events organized by Ultra White Collar Boxing (UWCB). This organization provides free training to inexperienced fighters for about eight weeks before they compete in front of an audience. UWCB now raises money exclusively for Cancer Research UK through its events. According to reports, Alastair’s death was the first associated with UWCB.
Richard, the grieving father, believes that white collar boxing fights should be stopped. He expressed his lack of surprise at the news of more deaths occurring in similar events. He feels that people are drawn into these matches because they believe they are supporting a good cause, but he sees it as disgraceful that Cancer Research UK accepts money from such events. The loss of his son had a profound impact on Richard, making it difficult for him to sleep for many years.
John, who resides in Birmingham, shares the same sentiment and wants these events to be halted to prevent other families from enduring the same tragic loss. He vividly remembers the distressing sight of his son being carried out of the arena in front of everyone. UWCB claims on its website that its events are safer than activities like cycling or rugby in terms of injuries. They argue that their events meet high safety standards, which have been verified by medical professionals including doctors and neurosurgeons.
It is important to note that UWCB is not affiliated with England Boxing, the governing body for amateur boxing clubs in England, and it operates as a self-regulated organization. The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC), responsible for overseeing professional boxing matches, has expressed its opposition to white collar events and has held meetings with Members of Parliament to discuss the matter.
Inquests for Dominic, who fought in Worcester, and Jubal, who passed away in Nottingham, are still pending. In October 2018, a coroner determined that Alastair, who had no previous boxing experience, died from head injuries sustained during a match in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, in March 2017.
The coroner recognized that Alastair, who had disclosed his medical history and signed necessary waivers, was vulnerable due to a previous head injury suffered during sparring training. The pathologist confirmed that the fatal hemorrhage resulted from damage to a weakened vein caused by the boxing bout.
Although a small amount of cocaine was found in Alastair’s blood, the coroner concluded that it did not significantly contribute to his death. The cause of death was ruled as misadventure, highlighting the impact of the boxing-related injuries.
The coroner praised the well-organized event, which had a qualified paramedic and two medical technicians present, and stated that the boxers were evenly matched.
However, the coroner expressed concerns about the training process leading up to the fight, as Alastair and another novice boxer named Carlo had missed some training sessions. The coroner recommended a minimum number of training sessions for boxers before being deemed fit to fight, and emphasized the importance of recording and considering this information when assessing their readiness and making match arrangements.
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