A tale of gross incompetence that verges on the criminal is emerging out of a boxing show held in Malta in August 2014. Drug testing in boxing is rightfully derided but a medical officer personally witnessing the intra-nasal ingestion of cocaine by a fighter on the evening of a bout is about as blatant as it gets.
What makes the events of that evening all the more shocking is the at best inaction and at worst collusion of the European Boxing Union and by implication the organization to which they are affiliated – the WBC. Of course the WBC wouldn’t have known anything of events at the time but they have been made fully aware in the aftermath – the response? A denial? A rebuttal? An internal investigation? No – silence.
“You can imagine my dismay when Marc James and Leif Magnusson, basically tried to run roughshod over Dr Xuereb with regard to his unwillingness to allow the boxer to compete due to his use of cocaine that evening. What I hadn’t expected is that Demis Tonna [the promoter], Marc James and Leif Magnusson then switched the sanctioning of the event to the Malta Boxing Association to get around safety regulations. It just goes to show how little they care about boxer safety, not just wanting to use unqualified medical staff at the events but also to go to those lengths to override our boxing regulations in order to get themselves in with a multi-millionaire who shouldn’t be boxing due to his recreational drug habit at that time, I say at that time as I am pleased that the person in question recently publicly announced that he is now clean and intends to stay clean. Shortly after the event I was informed by European Boxing Union General
Secretary Ms. Enza Jacaponi that Leif Magnusson had applied for the Malta
Boxing Association to become a member. I sent Ms Jacaponi Dr Xuereb’s report on the drug related incident as well as the letter that I had sent to Demis Tonna regarding the booking of the unregistered medical team and unqualified, ringside medical wise, doctor
as these people have clear disregard for boxer’s safety, yet to my horror just a few months later at the EBU General meeting in Paris the EBU chose to induct the MBA. I cannot for the life of me understand why the European Boxing Union (EBU) have failed to take action against their provisional member the Malta Boxing Association (MBA) for a clear breach of the recognized rules of boxing, which has endangered those competing on their events over the past year, as they boxed without proper pro level medicals or the required MRI scans, which in itself would invalidate any insurance that the MBA may or
may not of had. I am also unable to understand why the World Boxing Council (WBC), with whom the EBU are affiliated have refused to bring pressure to bear on the
EBU due to the seriousness of the matter, and to the same degree, since
they were CC’d in the e.mails, neither has the British Boxing Board of
Control (BBBofC).” Gianluca Di Caro Managing Director at WBU Europe, Vice President at Malta Boxing Commission
Back in 2012 the European Boxing Union revoked the Luxembourg Federation’s
membership because they sanctioned the Dereck Chisora vs David Haye event
in London. So let me get this straight – two FIGHTERS having a ruck in public – sanctioning a bout between these two is an offense that means expulsion yet allowing a fighter to fight after being viewed snorting cocaine by the Medical Officer on duty is not?
Whilst the UFC have invested $20 million in the most sophisticated drug testing protocol in the history of combat sport the WBC’s affiliate in Europe are allowing men to fight after being seen snorting charlie before entering the ring. The comparison could not be starker. The liability should such an event in future lead to cardiac arrest, serious injury or death – in either coked up fighter or opponent – might be lost on the WBC/EBU/MBA so I will spell them out:
Wrongful death case in a civil court with a probable several million dollar/pound/euro pay out.
I’d also ask how on earth given the fact that the MBA instigated this cocaine fueled event they hold EBU membership and the MBC – who actually have a real Doctor, you know the one who saw the fighter doing the coke and then objected to the fight going ahead – are not. I can’t speak for the MBC’s wider eligibility – certainly not in the omnipotent wisdom of the EBU – but on this single issue the MBA’s exclusion would appear well overdue.
The MBA have additionally allowed boxers to fight on their shows without medicals and MRI scans. The silence from both the WBC & the EBU is jarring. Perhaps getting a quote from some of the world’s major boxing promoters who fund these organizations via sanctioning fees would force them out of their inertia? What else I wonder would they need to do to get kicked out of the WBC/EBU axis? Let a fighter bring a knife into the ring?