South Tyneside boxing coach voices fears over unlicensed boxing events

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A respected boxing coach in South Tyneside has called for more stringent checks to be carried out on people hosting ‘White Collar’ fight nights.

Martyn Devlin says he is growing increasingly concerned at the rise of the unlicensed shows - often used to raise money for charity.

He says more needs to be done to check organisers hosting shows have the correct insurance and that they meet the same stringent checks as those put on by licenced clubs.

There are only two governing bodies regulating the sport in the UK - Amateur Boxing, which is regulated by England Boxing (formerly the ABA) and Professional Boxing, which is regulated by the British Boxing Board of Control.

Mr Devlin, who has been involved in the sport for over 40 years, said: “Boxing is a combat sport and not a game.

“We have to be properly registered and have insurance in place, we have DBS checks carried out on us and undergo child safeguarding courses. In the worst case scenario if someone is seriously injured or dies - and it can happen - we are covered by insurance.

“All our boxers taking part in amateur and professional events have to undergo a full medical, these medicals in the past have picked up on heart murmurs and diabetes which then prevent the person from fighting.

“A lot of these unlicensed events request participants to sign a waiver stating they will not claim against them if any injuries are sustained and have very few of the measures in place required to run a safe event.”

A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “We understand Mr Devlin’s concerns. However, the council does not have any powers to intervene.

“Unfortunately, as a local authority, we can only operate in accordance with the Licensing Act, which does not prevent these types of events from taking place. While they do fall outside of formal boxing association control, they are currently legal provided the venue is covered by its premises license or a temporary event notice (TEN).

“We have provided Mr Devlin with advice and support in his calls for better Government regulation.”