Tag Archives: brain

Consequences of Brain Scanning Boxers


By Jason Chertoff, M.D., M.P.H.

Over the last year, boxing has seen a spike in traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and deaths secondary to injuries sustained in the ring. With these tragedies, many boxing professionals, celebrities, and commentators have proposed ideas to curtail this problem. One proposed solution, screening CT and MRI brain scans, seems to be gaining widespread support. For many reasons, which include violation of basic statistic principles and unintended downstream consequences, screening boxers with brain scans is deeply flawed and potentially hazardous.

Tenants of population statistics require screening programs to meet certain criteria for them to be beneficial. First, the disease under investigation must be relatively common in the population being studied. For example, screening mammograms only benefit women in a specific age group, because outside of those ages, the disease is far too rare to realize any benefit. It is my contention that regardless of what modality is used (CT, MRI, etc.), TBI and death from boxing-related injuries are far too rare to benefit from screening. Next, the screening test must yield few false positives (also referred to as pseudodisease). An inherent characteristic of contemporary brain imaging is that it is exquisitely sensitive at detecting even the smallest, most negligible abnormalities. This means that screening young, healthy boxers will uncover considerable amounts of incidental findings and pseudodisease that ultimately have no bearing on TBI or death. Furthermore, screening tests must be highly accurate in their ability to detect the disease in its preclinical phase. For example, lung cancer screening with CT is effective and beneficial partly because lung cancer can be detected in its preclinical phase (small nodule before it grows and metastasizes). However, for TBI and death, one fundamental concern is that the preclinical phase likely does not exist. Finally, a screening test should be relatively low-risk and cause little morbidity. Unfortunately, as it relates to boxing, screening carries substantial risks, which are discussed below.

As previously mentioned, brain scanning is exquisitely effective at detecting even the tiniest, most inconsequential irregularities. This precision, which can be advantageous when applied to specific populations, can lead to detrimental false positive results and incidental findings when applied to healthy boxers. In fact, it can be anticipated that 10-15% of scans would yield false positive results in this population. To illustrate the conundrum that would ensue, imagine we aim to prevent TBI or death in a healthy 26-year-old boxer with brain scanning. The boxer obtains his scan and it shows a small irregularity. But what does this irregularity actually mean in terms of his boxing-related TBI or death risk? What can, or should be done to address this finding, and if nothing, how regularly should we monitor it? Boldly put, due to a scarcity of research we simply don’t know the answers to these questions, along with others that will undoubtedly ensue. Presently, medical research has not elucidated ample evidence-based information to decisively say which brain scan abnormalities would place a boxer at higher risk for TBI or death. Obviously, a large brain tumor would be a clear indication to halt a boxer’s career, but unfortunately the vast majority of abnormalities detected by brain scans in this population would be much less striking, making the management less clear-cut. Similarly, it is unclear whether those that die or sustain TBI actually had a prior abnormality that may have caused the tragedy, or if there was, whether it played any role in the tragic outcome.

Along the same lines as false positives and incidental findings, brain scanning in boxers would lead to harmful false negatives as well. In this scenario a false negative would be a normal brain scan in a boxer that eventually dies or develops TBI. Again, medical research has yet to study whether normal brain scanning somehow prevents or lessens the risk of TBI or death. Actually, it seems logical that most brain injuries and deaths from boxing result from acute trauma in previously healthy, normal brains, which is why these tragedies will persist despite screening.

Even if medical research could clarify some of this uncertainty, the risk of developing TBI or death from boxing is so small that any hypothetical benefit gained from screening would be miniscule. As an example, assume that currently 1 out of every 1,000 boxers die or sustain TBI (0.1% occurrence rate). Now, let’s imagine that screening reduces the risk by 50% so that the risk of TBI or death becomes 0.05% (of note, no screening tests or programs in medicine exist that are even close to this successful). Given this risk reduction, 0.1% to 0.05%, the number of boxers that would need to be screened to prevent one tragedy would be 2,000. Said another way, 2,000 boxers would need to be screened to prevent one death or TBI (also of note, most screening tests in widespread use have a number needed to treat less than 100). This means that 1,999 healthy boxers would need to be subjected to the harms of screening in order prevent one TBI or death. Needless to say, few would argue in favor of such a plan given its high risks and small potential benefits.

Performing a screening test is pointless if there are no interventions to address the abnormalities. We wouldn’t screen for cancer if there were no available treatments. Likewise, we shouldn’t screen for brain abnormalities in boxers since there are no obvious treatments other than indefinite suspension. Since screening will uncover numerous insignificant abnormalities, a conundrum becomes what to do with this information. Perhaps suspend all boxers with abnormal scans until a neurologist clears them to box again, but this would undoubtedly overwhelm our already depleted healthcare system. Even if resources to specialty care were available, it remains unclear what healthcare providers are to do with this information given the lack of research in this field. Certainly, you’d be hard-pressed to find any physician that would decisively comment on whether certain brain scan abnormalities portend higher risk of TBI and death. So, perhaps the solution is to temporarily suspend the boxer and follow the abnormalities over time, but even in this scenario, it’s unclear what to look for, or how long the surveillance period should be. The most conservative and cautious approach would be to permanently suspend all boxers with brain scan abnormalities, regardless of its effect on risk of death or TBI, but this strategy would rob numerous boxers of their passion and livelihood. Clearly, because there’s no obvious plan in place to address this deluge of abnormalities, a screening policy in boxing is likely to be harmful.

For many boxers, competing at the professional level is their only method of livelihood for themselves and their families. Presumably, suspension and outright banning of boxers would have catastrophic consequences for both boxers and their families, not to mention adverse societal downstream ramifications (i.e., depression, anxiety, crime, addiction, poverty, etc.). Should a screening program be initiated, it is imperative that legislators anticipate these problems before they balloon into an epidemic.

Although brain scanning may seem to be relatively harmless, there are numerous underappreciated risks associated with these scans that boxers will need to endure. The amount of radiation, intravenous contrast, and gadolinium exposure associated with scanning should not be downplayed, especially if there’s no limit on the amount of scans that will be performed. Also important to consider are the downstream invasive procedures associated with screening (similar to biopsies with cancer screening) that will be required. Invasive procedures, even more than the scans themselves, have an enormous potential to cause morbidity and mortality, especially considering that these will be performed on the brain.

One obvious concern with a brain screening policy is cost. Assume, on average, that the overall cost of one scan is $500. This means it would cost $1 million to prevent one death or TBI ($2,000 X $500). Some might argue that $1 million is a small price to pay to save a life, but it remains unclear how this would be funded. This is something to acknowledge, especially given the current state of our country’s healthcare system.

If a screening program is to be instituted, ultimately someone, likely a medical professional, will need to decide whether it’s safe to box. Who makes this call, and what happens when an unintended consequence happens? Will there be a rash of malpractice suits, and if so, who funds the malpractice insurance? Again, more unanswered questions with very few answers.

It is crucial to highlight that screening boxers will assuredly drain our healthcare system of essential resources and make access to them more difficult. There’s already a limited finite supply of resources (scanners, technicians, radiologists, etc.) and inundating it further with wasteful tests is likely to be catastrophic. Should screening be initiated, it’s easy to envision scenarios where children with seizures can’t get MRIs, or patients with strokes can’t obtain CT scans.

The recent uptick in boxing deaths has led many to propose the institution of screening brain scans in an attempt to make boxer safer. Although undoubtedly admirable in their intentions, it is imperative that proponents of this idea realize that such a plan is deeply flawed and would be irresponsible from statistical, societal, and economic standpoints. It is clear that the risks of instituting such a program would far outweigh any potential benefits.

Contact me on Twitter: @ChertoffD), Facebook, or Email: [email protected]
References:

1) Obuchowski, N. A., Graham, R. J., Baker, M. E., & Powell, K. A. (2001). Ten criteria for effective screening: their application to multislice CT screening for pulmonary and colorectal cancers. American Journal of Roentgenology, 176(6), 1357-1362.

2) Morris, Z., Whiteley, W. N., Longstreth, W. T., Weber, F., Lee, Y. C., Tsushima, Y., … & Salman, R. A. S. (2009). Incidental findings on brain magnetic resonance imaging: systematic review and meta-analysis. Bmj, 339, b3016.

3) Katzman, G. L., Dagher, A. P., & Patronas, N. J. (1999). Incidental findings on brain magnetic resonance imaging from 1000 asymptomatic volunteers. Jama, 282(1), 36-39.

More Columns

When Will A Losing Record Boxer Know When He Should Retire?


When Will A Losing Record Boxer Know When He Should Retire?
By: Ken Hissner

The UK’s 36 year old Kristian Laight is now 12-248-8 but only stopped 5 times. He is third on this writers 100 Club losers list in total defeats only behind Reggie Strickland 66-276-17 and Peter Buckley 32-256-12 but both are retired. Matt Seawright of the UK is 5-146-5 stopped 22 times and still fighting.

Matt Scriven of the UK is 14-91-1 stopped 20 times. Dan Carr of the UK is 3-85-2 but only stopped once. Kalman Vagyocki of Hungary has a “perfect record” of 0-45 stopped 34 times. Then there is Marius Sorin of Romania 0-42-2 stopped 27 times.

How about Dmitrijs Avsijenkovs of Latvia who is 0-29 stopped all 29 times? Petr Jasukievic of CZ is 0-27 stopped 25 times. The Dominican Republic is known for some really losing boxers like Dionisio Rodriguez 0-42 stopped 29 times. Alexis Castillo 0-35 stopped 31 times. Miguel Tavarez 0-32 stopped 25 times. Gregory Esteves 0-34 stopped 18 times. Jose Guzman 0-28 stopped 22 times. Jose Ramon Tejada 0-19 stopped all 19 times and Junior Rodriguez 0-19 but “only” stopped 12 times. Juan Ramon Santos is 0-18 stopped 17 times. Marcos Martinez is 0-18 stopped 15 times. Zuleidiy Diaz Meja 0-18 stopped 17 times. Modesto Felix 0-18-2 stopped 11 times.

Poland has Slawomir Latopolski 0-18 stopped 17 times. Ukraine has Vitaliy Charkin 0-18 stopped 16 times who fought this past weekend. Also fighting this past weekend was Milan Ruso of CZ 1-46 stopped 41 times.

Jose Amaral of Brazil 1-69 stopped 41 times. Lajos Orsos of Hungary 1-54-2 stopped 21 times. Cristian Nicolae of Romania 2-76 stopped 16 times finally retired. Rudolf Murko of CZ is 3-80-2 stopped 40 times. Qasim Hussain of the UK is 4-76-2 but only stopped once. Moses Matovu of the UK from UG is 5-64-4 stopped 7 times. Stefan Stanko of Slovokia is 6-67-1 stopped 59 times. Dan Blackwell of the UK is 7-63 but only stopped once.
Looking at a boxer from Mexico that seems to win “every other fight” you have Roberto Valenzuela 69-75-2 stopped 40 times.

Other active boxers who qualified for the 100+ loss club are Kevin McCauley a Hungarian out of CZ 13-142-11 stopped 11 times. Ibar Rivas an Albanian out of the UK is 34-119-4 only stopped 3 times. Jozef Kubovaky of Slovokia is 13-109-14 stopped 36 times. William Warburton of the UK is 23-114-9 stopped only 3 times. Elemir Rafael also from Slovokia is 34-106-4 stopped 34 times. Finally Yousef Al Hamidi of the UK 14-109-3 stopped only 3 times.

The bottom line is “when will a losing record boxer know when it’s time to retire?” How about the commissions in the UK and DR?

More Columns

Boxing Insider Notebook: Golovkin, Canelo, Fortuna, Chavez, Lemieux, and more..


Boxing Insider Notebook: Golovkin, Canelo, Fortuna, Chavez, Lemieux, and more..
Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 21st to March 28th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

canelooscar

Gennady Golovkin’s Promoter Tells TMZ Canelo Alvarez Fight Needs to Happen

Gennady Golovkin’s promoter told TMZ that the Canelo Alvarez fight needs to happen and that both sides want it done and that there’s just way too much money to be made.

Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, says he’s been in serious talks with Golden Boy about a possible September date as long as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. doesn’t beat Canelo in May.

He also indicated that there’s a lot of options for a venue, including Madison Square Garden and T-Mobile Arena.

Read more at: http://www.tmz.com/2017/03/25/gennady-golovkin-promoter-canelo-alvarez-fight/

Javier Fortuna Renews Promotional Agreement with Sampson Boxing

Former WBA Featherweight and Super Featherweight Champion Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna (31-1-1, 22 KOs) has renewed his long-term promotional agreement with promoter Sampson Lewkowicz and Sampson Boxing.

From La Romana, Dominican Republic, the 27-year-old Fortuna has won two straight since dropping his super featherweight belt in a shocker against Jason Sosa in June 2016. He came back with an impressive two-round blowout of fellow Dominican Marlyn Cabrera in September 2016 and then, in November took the undefeated record of Delaware’s Omar “Super O” Douglas by unanimous decision.

“Sampson Lewkowicz is and always will be my promoter,” said Fortuna. “He has done right by me and my career at every turn. I will be world champion again with Sampson in my corner.”

Lewkowicz, who says he’s working on a big fight for Fortuna, says Fortuna has become like family.
“Javier is a son to me. I am honored to be his promoter and look forward to continuing to work for him. He is a great champion with many great fights left. After he won his first title, he told me we would work together for his entire career and he has kept his word. I will do everything to make him a champion again.”

Hasim Rahman Jr. Pro Debut Moved to Friday, April 14th

When promoter Greg Cohen announced he had finalized arrangements for his next event, the decision to delay his promising heavyweight hopeful, Hasim Rahman Jr.’s, professional boxing debut two more weeks became an easy one.

Originally scheduled to turn professional on March 23, Baltimore native Rahman will now have his first four-round fight in front of a huge contingent of hometown family and friends on Friday, April 14, at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md.

Rahman will face Kansas City’s Brian Imes (1-4, 1 KO) on the non-televised undercard portion of an event that features the live telecast of undefeated Dmitry Bivol defending his interim WBA Light Heavyweight title against Samuel Clarkson in the 12-round main event of a ShoBox: The New Generation tripleheader (10 p.m. ET/PT). In the co-feature, unbeaten welterweight prospects Juan Ruiz and Malik Hawkins will square off in an eight-round bout, and Baltimore’s undefeated featherweight Glenn Dezurn will open the telecast.

Tickets for the event, which is co-promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions and Banner Promotions in association with World of Boxing and Uprising Promotions, are priced at $103, $73 and $48 and can be purchased at www.TicketMaster.com.

“You only get one pro debut, so when Greg announced this show, he and I thought it would be a great idea for me to turn pro on this show instead, in front of my hometown friends and family,” explained Rahman.
The 25-year-old, son of Hasim “The Rock” Rahman, who famously knocked out Lennox Lewis in April 2001 to win the WBC and IBF Heavyweight Championships, says to being at home is a very important part of his mission.

“I’m doing this for my family and my friends and my city, so I think I should start right in front of them,” Rahman continued. “And someday I’ll bring them back the heavyweight championship. I can’t wait to fight on the same show as my brother with all my loved ones watching. It’s going to be a very big night.”
“We didn’t get the final word we were doing the Maryland show until a few days ago,” said Greg Cohen. “But once we knew it was happening, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to let Hasim Jr. turn pro at home. It just worked out perfectly.”

Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Rich Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.

David Lemieux and Joseph Diaz Added to Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. HBO PPV Telecast

Less than two months after delivering the top knockout of 2017, Canadian knockout artist David Lemieux (37-3, 33 KOs) will return in a 10-round fight against Marco “Dorado” Reyes (34-4, 25 KOs) as the chief support to the highly anticipated battle between Canelo Álvarez and Julio Cesar Chávez, Jr. on Saturday, May 6. The mega-event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

Opening up the stacked Cinco de Mayo weekend card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, former U.S. Olympian and current undefeated NABF Featherweight champion Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. (23-0, 13 KOs) will face perhaps his toughest challenge to date when he defends his title against the undefeated Manuel “Tino” Avila (22-0, 8 KOs) in a 10-round battle.

These two fights along with the main event and the previously announced brawl between Argentinian slugger Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (37-4, 34 KOs) and Emmanuel “Tranzformer” Taylor (20-4, 14 KOs) will round out the pay-per-view telecast on Saturday May 6.

“With three of Golden Boy Promotions’ most exciting contenders appearing on the pay-per-view, as well as the biggest star in the sport, Canelo Álvarez, the Cinco de Mayo card can be described in one word, ‘stacked’,” said Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya. “I fully expect four action-packed fights that will have fans out of their seats for the entire evening.”

The hard-hitting Lemieux is riding a three-fight winning streak and was last seen delivering a thunderous third-round knockout of the highly touted Curtis “Cerebral Assassin” Stevens that has put the Canadian directly back into the title picture.

“I’m thankful to have the opportunity of being part of this event during the Cinco de Mayo celebrations,” Lemieux said. “I think I was able to send a clear message on March 11 with my performance against Stevens and I intend to do the same on May 6. I want to make sure that everyone understands that David Lemieux is making his way towards the top and that he intends to stay there.”

Reyes, a 29-year-old former WBC FECOMBOX middleweight champion, has knocked out 25 opponents and went toe-to-toe with Chavez, Jr., in a unanimous decision defeat that many spectators had closer than what came up on the scorecards.

“I know everyone is talking about the Lemieux knockout, but I’m ready to take him out,” Reyes said. “With my Mexican fans supporting me on Cinco de Mayo weekend, I’m ready to turn Lemieux’s lights out.”

“Following his performance against Curtis ‘The Cerebral Assassin’ Stevens at Turning Stone Resort Casino, fight fans wanted to see David in the ring again as soon as possible,” said Eye of the Tiger Management President Camille Estephan. “Being part of such a tremendous card that will be featured on May 6 with eyes on us from all around the world represents an incredible showcase opportunity. We are convinced that David will shine. He is in great shape and is more motivated than ever to conquer the top of the middleweight division,”

In the opening battle of the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast, two undefeated fighters will go toe-to-toe with both Joseph Diaz, Jr. and Manuel Avila risking their undefeated records for a chance at greater glory.
“I’m excited to return for the first time in 2017 and put my title on the line against such a tough competitor,” Diaz, Jr. said. “This fight will put me one step closer to a world title shot.”

“This is a golden opportunity to move myself into world title contention, and I’m not planning to let that chance slip away,” Avila said. “I know all about JoJo’s undefeated record, but he’s never faced anyone like me, and at the end of the night, my hand will be raised in victory.”

Preliminary bouts for the May 6 show will be announced in the coming weeks.

Tickets for a closed circuit viewing of the fights at the Grand Ballroom at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino are on sale for $75, not including applicable fees. All seats are general admission and can be purchased at the MGM Grand box office or by phone with a major credit card at 800-745-3000.

Helenius and Chisora Set for Huge Heavyweight Rematch

Robert Helenius (24-1, 15 KOs) and Dereck Chisora (26-7, 18 KOs) are set for a huge heavyweight rematch on May 27 at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.

There is a lot of the line for both men, in what promises to be the biggest fight on Finnish soil in recent history, with both the WBC Silver World Heavyweight title and a shot at the current WBC World Champion Deontay Wilder up for grabs.

Helenius holds a controversial split decision win over Chisora from their all action showdown in December 2011, which many believed the British boxer did enough to win. However, the Finnish fighter says this time the decision will be left in no doubt.

‘’Chisora is a good fighter and I’m expecting a tough fight, but I’m very confident I will win,’’ said the 33 year-old. ‘’Before our first match, I injured my right shoulder and had to fight for twelve-rounds with just one arm. If I was able to beat him with one arm, I don’t see any problems beating him when I have two.

‘’I am in great shape now, and I feel stronger than ever. It’s been a long road back since my shoulder operation, and I’ve been waiting a long time for an opportunity like this. I believe I am ready, and after I beat Chisora, I will be in a good position to challenge for the World title.’’

‘’I’m looking forward to going back to Helsinki and putting on another great show for the fans,’’ said Chisora. ‘’It’s a beautiful city with a lot of beautiful people. We had a lot of fun last time, and everyone knows who really won that fight. He can make all the excuses he wants, but that won’t help him on May 27.

‘’I feel like this is my time, I’m in my prime, and I can’t wait. I might be relaxed now, but when I leave London, I’m going to war. When I get on that flight I become a different person. Mr. Nice Guy is gone. It brings the vicious side out in me, and he’d better be ready!’’

‘’We’re delighted to be bringing this huge heavyweight attraction to Helsinki,’’ said promoter Nisse Sauerland. ‘’The first fight between Robert and Dereck was something special, and this promises to be even better. They’ve got unfinished business, and on May 27, they’ve finally got the chance to settle the score.’’

Tickets for the WBC Silver World Heavyweight Championship clash between Robert Helenius and Dereck Chisora will go on sale Monday, March 27 at 9.00 (EET) and are available online via www.ticketmaster.fi or by calling the ticket hotline on 0600 10 800.

Life Saving Brain Scanners Debut at Exclusive Boxing Event in Malta

Last Friday evening the cream of Maltese Glitterati descended on the Le Meridien Hotel in St Julian’s, Malta, for a rather exclusive Professional Boxing event, sanctioned by the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) in conjunction with the Malta Boxing Commission (MBC).

With tickets priced at almost ten times the normal for a boxing event in the Mediterranean haven, joining the rich and famous from the Islands were in excess of sixty international high rollers, each and every one of them attending to support Damon Booth as he made his professional boxing debut, against Ireland’s Marty Kayes, as well as to watch the highly decorated multi-World Champion Scott Dixon in action against England’s Will Cairns

However, those in attendance for the swanky event were totally unaware that in the background was an historic event also taking place, as for the first time on the Islands and only the second time ever at a professional boxing event anywhere in the World, the ground breaking hand held Infra-Scanners, that can detect bleeds to the brain of the combatants, were in action both pre and post fights.

The Infra-Scanners, that were successfully introduced by the BIBA just two weeks prior, at an event in Paisley Scotland, following a number of high profile life changing head injuries incidents at professional boxing events in the UK last year, most notably the death of Scottish Boxer Mike Towell, even though these tragic incidents were on events sanctioned by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) and not by themselves.

The Infra-Scanner is a hand held brain scanner that is designed to detect bleeding on the surface of the brain inside the skull, so epidural and subdural bleeds, which are the common bleeds associated with an impact to the head, ones that can commonly cause life changing injuries or in the worse case scenario, death, in a short space of time.

Within Boxing, the Infra-Scanner is not intended to replace an MRI scan, which is required annually for Professional Boxers, but allows Doctors at Ringside to undertake a two or three minute scan, to determine if as a result of the boxing match that a boxer may have sustained an epidural and subdural bleed to the head.

Should the scan produce a positive result this will enable the Ringside Doctors to ensure that the Boxer is admitted immediately to the nearest specialist unit, where the appropriate care can be undertaken.
Malta Boxing Commission (MBC) Chief Medical Officer and British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) Medical Advisory Committee Member Dr Mark Xuereb spoke briefly after the successful introduction of the Infra-Scanners at the special event.

“My comments as a Boxing Doctor for both the MBC & BIBA and having been in this profession for in excess of ten years, I can say I’ve seen a lot of boxers and sometimes as a clinician the team has a dilemma do you refer to hospital or don’t you, which is a crucially important decision because you are potentially toying with death.

Without wanting to dramatize, this is a fantastic tool, the Infra-Scanner is a crucial tool to aid in that decision process. It’s easy, it’s simple, any paramedic or doctor can be trained to use it and it helps with the triage system, which is crucially important decision, because we decide what is current urgent versus future important.

We have guidelines for head injuries charting, whether to refer or not refer, as always this will not replace clinical assessment, however shall we say it fortifies and confirms your clinical hunch.
So easy to use, perfect, would I use in the future, absolutely, the research results are undeniable, and it’s making waves all over the world, so I would really like to thank whoever invented it because it is really going to help us as health & safety in any sport is first and foremost, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, five stars and hopefully as it develops it will get smaller and lighter, although saying that must say it is already lightweight and reasonable in size, so brilliant all round.”

Maltese Heavyweight Billy Corito, who had attended the event became the first Maltese boxer to be scanned, even though he wasn’t boxing on the event had this to say about the technological breakthrough.
“I was overwhelmed to be asked by Dr Xuereb to be the first Maltese boxer to have a Brain scan using the infra-scanner.

Could not believe this little remote looking device can save a boxers life! It was so quick and easy to detect if I have an injury or blood on my brain or anyone else’s.

It was over in just a couple of minutes, so just imagine if all boxing federations have one of these on every boxing event how quick lives would be saved.

As the saying goes, boxing saves lives, well now its Infra-scanners who are saving lives”

Scott Dixon, who was the actual first competitor to be scanned post fight at the event also spoke about the infra-scanners and the positive effect he believes having them ringside will have on the sport.

I think it’s an absolute revelation that BIBA have now bought in the head scanners to Malta, before and after every contest, this is the way forward, the only way forward.

There have been a few fatalities in the ring and most notably when I had my first fight on Friday the 13th October 1995 my best friend James Murray died in the boxing ring.

It took me a long time to get over that and I always hoped and wished that the rules would become more stringent. Back then it was British Boxing Board of Control, but hey now the British & Irish Boxing Authority are ruling the waves now with their pro-active approach to boxer safety.

BIBA make it their number one priority to look after the fighters and that’s the way it should be, their regulations are amazing, so I’m delighted to be a BIBA license holder and to be the first boxer to undertake a scan after my fight here in Malta, forget the rest BIBA’s the best.

I came to Malta eleven years ago and when I came here boxing was virtually nonexistent, they never knew a left hook from a fishhook, but now they’ve progressed and moved forward, so much so that having the scanners here are leading the charge in boxer safety.

Scott then went on to praise the BIBA on their professionalism with regard to another of their procedures, this time regarding dope tests, particularly due to an unsavory brush with the local doping authority, who not only failed to follow correct procedures at one of his previous fights that was sanctioned by the Malta Boxing Association (MBA), but then decided to charge him with failing to undertake a doping request, which is currently under appeal.

“I’m also delighted that tonight BIBA even regulated the doping screening, I volunteered to take the tests as they were going to pick them at random which is standard procedure, but I volunteered as I have nothing to hide.

The true procedure is that you are notified before that you will be subject to dope testing, obviously like I said, I volunteered, I done one test before the contest.

After my fight I was escorted, to the dressing room, by BIBA officials, to make sure there was no dodgy business, I went straight to the dressing room and was observed and did another doping test.
Obviously both were clear, as always, because I’m a professional athlete, I’ve been a professional 23 years now.

Now I’ve done thirty dope tests during my career in total, the correct procedure is you be notified and like I said BIBA followed the correct procedure and in an appropriate manner.

I’m so pleased to be part of this set-up, I mean listen there are so many cowboys in this sport, let’s be honest you have the MBA here in Malta for an example, so if you want to join a circus you go with them, if you want to be part of a truly professional set up you go with MBC or BIBA, as they look after the fighters safety first and foremost and that’s the only way forward and that’s why we’ve gone with the top of the chain.”

More Headlines