A boxing doctor has said that the British Boxing Board of Control’s decision to suspend boxing in January makes “no difference” to the National Health Service’s ability to treat people during the latest surge of the omicron variant of Covid-19.
Jamil Shah Foridi, who works as a doctor in an accident and emergency department in hospital, as well as a boxing doctor said in an interview on BBC breakfast that the suspension served “no practical purpose”.
“Personally, I don’t think it makes any difference,” Foridi said. “I work full time in A&E and in my spare time I will be doing boxing bouts. The fact that boxing bouts are not occurring does not mean I spend any more time in A&E, I am just not doing boxing bouts any more.
“I think that the people who are most affected are the boxers. I don’t see a rise in doctors suddenly attending hospitals. They are already working in hospitals. The ones that aren’t, are in clinical practices or they have quit their training pathways. They aren’t suddenly going to go into hospitals. It is the boxers who are affected – this doesn’t increase staff in the NHS.
“The boxing commission has its own medical panel and at the top of that is a consultant. He has probably decided that this is the best way to approach things, it does inhibit any backlash against the boxing community in the future. I can understand why the decision has been made in the political sense. I don’t think it has any practical purpose as such.”
The BBBoC announced on New Year’s Day that boxing would be suspended for a month after a huge surge in the numbers of people contracting Covid-19, which is threatening to overwhelm NHS services, which have been badly hit by having large numbers of staff off sick.
Faridi, who boxed while studying at Cambridge University, also outline the role of a boxing doctor.
“Pre-bout you do a medical examination on the boxers to check that they are medically fit to box, during the bout you are at ringside and ensure that if any unfortunate incidents do occur, for example if someone has a laceration that is effecting their eyes or if a knockout does occur, you have to make sure the boxer is OK,” he said. “If they need to go to A&E, you make that call, if they need to have an oxygen mask, you put that oxygen mask on, you just have to make sure the boxer is safe. Post-bout, for every boxer, you have to make sure there is no long-lasting damage and that there is nothing of concern.
“In terms of the amount of time this takes up, there are not events taking place every single day, I have, personally, attended about six or seven bouts in the past year. Obviously, that is affected by Covid, but even without Covid that would probably be once or twice a month.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.