By Terence Dooley
Former IBF cruiserweight titlist Glenn McCrory has revealed that he felt close to death while making weight for a world title defence in the hope of once again highlighting the dangers of cutting weight by squeezing water out of your diet.
Although boxing is beginning to tackle mental health issues, the North East legend believes that we are in danger of overlooking the fact that too many modern fighters dehydrate themselves to dangerous levels in order to make their stipulated weight and gain what they perceive to be a physical advantage.
The 53-year-old has told John Gibson of the Evening Chronicle that he wants to tackle the issue of dehydration in boxing. McCrory has openly admitted that he used to fool himself into thinking the struggle to make weight had benefits that out-weighed the obvious health costs and issues.
“When I defended my world title against Jeff Lampkin in 1990 I was so dehydrated making the weight that I knew I was going to lose the fight even before I got into the ring,” he told The Chronicle.
“I was so weak and exhausted that my biggest fear wasn't losing the title — I feared for my life. I genuinely mean that. Nothing has changed since then though. The problem has never gone away.”
“You're playing Russian roulette with your health,” he added. “It's natural to take risks. Fighters are always looking for an advantage and are prepared to go to great lengths to get it. As a consequence they are routinely taking risks in terms of dehydration to get down to certain weights and we need to look at that including hydration levels generally in the run-up to fights and post-fight too.”
Working in tandem with the BBBoC and WBC, the former fighter is championing this cause by reiterating that the perceived benefits are dwarfed by the risks, both in the short and long-term, as well as impacting on in-ring performances. Indeed, he has taken up a non-salaried role with CellNutrition Sport, a mineral and hydration supplement specialist, and hopes to use this role to increase awareness of the dangers of drying out.
McCrory will speak about the subject at the World Boxing Council’s annual convention in October, where he hopes his pleas will be considered by the powers that be.
“I see this as a cause for improvement in the sport that everyone can unite behind and I’m sure that I’ll get a sympathetic listen because it’s something that the top people in boxing know remains an issue,” he said when speaking to The Telegraph.
“I don’t care if it takes time for something significant to be done by the boxing authorities — I’m happy to dig in for the long haul. This is a cause I passionately believe in and I’m delighted I have been given me a platform to raise its profile.”
Please send news and views to @Terryboxing.