Boxing Board clears the air over Meroro’s fitness… is Tobias biting off more than he can chew?

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Carlos Kambaekwa

Windhoek-The Namibia Professional Boxing & Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB) has set the record straight over its functions on boxers’ level of fitness ahead of high-profile international bouts.

The commission remains steadfast in its commitment towards the welfare of professional boxers and says part of its primary functions is to optimize the medical and safety standards of boxing fights all over the world and minimize the risk of a serious injury during boxing bouts.

NPBWCB strongly recommends yearly medical examinations of all licensed fighters to be conducted by a physician designated by the local commission.

The commission says Vikapita Meroro was subjected to the pre-contest medical examination at weigh-in and the ringside attending medical doctor was satisfied with his medical fitness.

The initial (first licensing) and annual medical examination (yearly renewing of the licence) shall include a most complete and detailed medical history and physical examination of the boxer, with special emphasis pertaining to his profession or sport, including:

Family Medical History: Hereditary or familial diseases such as a history of epilepsy, tuberculosis, diabetes mellitus, and blood disorders should be medically assessed.
Personal Medical History: The following conditions preclude boxing: gross deformities and major operations (e.g. nephrectomy); deaf mutes; and a history of epilepsy or diabetes requiring insulin.

Physical Examination: A complete physical examination shall be conducted. In making a decision as to whether or not a boxer is fit to box, the following factors shall be strictly adhered to:

Eyes: The following conditions preclude boxing: Significant astigmatism, myopia greater than five (5) diopters or any variant of optic nerve degeneration, a (pre)retinal detachment, hemorrhage, or gross fundal pathology and the wearing of spectacles or contact lenses in the ring.

Blood Pressure: To be average for age.  Any boxer with a systolic pressure over one hundred and fifty (150) or a diastolic pressure above ninety (90) is suspect and should have a special investigation.

Weight Loss: The ring physician shall pay particular attention to the presence of debilitating effects resulting from a strenuous weight loss program, both by foods or fluid reducing drugs, which might weaken the boxer to the extent he should be precluded from boxing in that particular event.

Blood test for HIV (human immuno-deficiency virus) and HBC (hepatitis ‘B’): Boxers who test positive for HIV or HBC, or have an active hepatitis B will not be permitted to box.
A pre-contest medical examination, immediately before the weigh-in and a post-contest check of each boxer shall be conducted by a ring physician for each bout, whilst any or all of the laboratory procedures listed above may be conducted at the pre-contest medical examination at the discretion of the attending physician.

Pre-contest medical examination specifics
The medical examination (before weigh-in) shall include a physical examination of the boxer and the check of the presented medical certificates, including: blood pressure, examination of the eyes, nose, ears, mouth and throat (with a medical lamp), auscultation of heart and lungs, orthopedic examination (ribs, hands, neck and skull e.g. injuries), neurological status.

If the fighter is “fit to box”, the ring physician will allow the weigh-in to take place but must give notice to the supervisor and the local commissioner. Any boxer’s level of preparedness or physical fitness and interest in a contest are completely the responsibility of the boxer and his trainer and it would only be fair to get clarity from them.

Contacted for comment, promoter Nestor Tobias said: “I’ve been working with this boy for a very long time and tried very hard to revitalize his boxing career, but it seems not to be. In all honesty, he (Meroro) has been regularly in the gym since August last year because he had two fights lined up which did not materialize.”

Tobias is adamant the boxer was well prepared for the fight but for some strange reason he lacked commitment going into the bout.

“I’m very disappointed with his overall approach towards the fight – where in the world have you ever heard of a boxer prematurely announcing his retirement before a fight?”
Besides all the post-match brouhaha, the dominant view amongst extremely displeased local boxing pundits is that even a fool could notice that Meroro was hopelessly unfit and should never have been allowed to enter the boxing ring for a fight of such magnitude.

“I fully understand the frustrations from the general public, but as they say, you can only take a horse to the water but you can’t make it drink. The buck stops with the boxer because he let everybody down with his unbecoming or rather unprofessional attitude.”

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