Ban on boys boxing ruining sport: Lamont
By TONY WHITE
IF your a young fella under the age of 14 in NSW and want to learn the art of boxing and take part in controlled, amateur competitions, forget it.
Age restrictions in NSW ? every other state and the ACT has schoolboy competitions ? is having a detrimental effect on amateur boxing and officials want the current rules changed.
The push for altering the rule is being led by long serving Boxing NSW Association State secretary Arthur Tunstall and backed by local respected boxing identity, Barry Lamont.
Currently the NSW government by-law does not allow boys under the age of 14 to box in competition.
Lamont intends to lobby local politicians to alter the bylaw.
Lamont, vice president of the Far North Coast Boxing Association, chairman of the FNC referees and judges Association and a member of the Grafton Boxing Club for 22 years and current treasurer, says the rules are also effecting training of our future Commonwealth and Olympic Games athletes.
"Kids just aren't coming through, you've got to start them early," Lamont said. "We get a heap of young kids turn up to the gym (Grafton) wanting to be taught self defence but when they learn they can't compete, most of them just give it away and go into another sport.
"Once they go you never get them back.
"We can't come up with a reason why the age restriction is only in NSW.
"It's detrimental to the sport of amateur boxing."
For athletes to contend in Commonwealth and Olympic Games they need to start young and become dedicated, Lamont said.
Lamont estimated up to 20 kids a month under 14 come into the gym, but lose interest when informed of the NSW age restrictions to competition.
"Teaching kids to box is also a way to keep them off the streets, get them fit and give them an interest," Lamont said.
"A lot of Aboriginal kids want to learn the sport, but once you tell them there's no competition until they turn 14, most of them want to do something else."
While many claim boxing is a dangerous sport, amateur boxing is strictly controlled with youngsters required to box with 10 ounce gloves and heavily padded headgear. A doctor is always present at each bout.
Tunstall suggested in a press release: "In my 60 years as secretary of the NSW Boxing Association, there has never been a fatality or serious injury in competition under the control of the Association's officials."