HC Deb 20 November 1995 vol 267 c329
11. Mr. Cox

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage when she last met the members of the British Boxing Board of Control to discuss regulation of the sport. [492]

Mr. Sproat

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not met the members of the British Boxing Board of Control. The regulation of boxing is a matter for the board.

Mr. Cox

I note the Minister's reply, but is he aware of what has happened in British boxing in the past year? There has been death, serious injury, violence by spectators outside the ring and the continuing habit of many boxers, prior to contests, to say what they intend to do to their opponent once the fight begins. Is it not time that the Minister told the BBBC to begin to put its house in order, before the demands to ban boxing become even stronger?

Mr. Sproat

I am aware of the background facts that the hon. Gentleman mentioned. On the question of the BBBC putting its house in order, in the past few weeks it has announced measures to strengthen safeguards—for example, new dehydration laws, an new annual scan and doctors being given easier access to the ring. In fact, British boxing is more stringently controlled than boxing anywhere else in the world.

Mr. Harry Greenway

Does my hon. Friend agree that there is no room for complacency but that the people who seek to attack or abolish boxing will not succeed, that the sport is popular and that it gives many boys an opportunity to progress in life that they would not otherwise have? Does he further agree that it would be a disaster and extremely dangerous for such individuals if the sport were forced underground?

Mr. Sproat

My hon. Friend is absolutely right on that count. Countries such as Iceland have banned professional boxing but Icelandic boxers simply go elsewhere to practise the sport.

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