On this audio edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman previews the finals of the Showtime bantamweight tournament featuring IBF champ Joseph King Kong Agbeko and Abner Mares, and discusses the myth that wearing gloves in boxing and MMA makes those sports safer.
This Saturday, August 13, IBF bantamweight champion Joseph King Kong Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs) will fight the unbeaten Abner Mares (21-0-1, 13 KOs) in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a bout postponed from April when Agbeko fell victim to an attack of sciatica. Now that Agbeko is fully recovered, this much-anticipated fight will conclude the four-man Showtime bantamweight tournament.
We spoke with Joseph King Kong Agbeko and Abner Mares on a recent media conference call about the effects of this postponement and what to expect in this fight.
The issue of bare-knuckle fighting has recently come to the fore with the bare-knuckle boxing match between Bobby Gunn and Richard Stewart at the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Casino and Hotel in Fountain Hill, Arizona, outside Scottsdale, on August 5, 2011. This appeared to be a planned mismatch in favor of Gunn, who won by third-round knockout, and the health and safety standards were suspect since no member of the Association of Boxing Commissions was regulating it.
However, the condemnation of this bare-knuckle contest by the Association of Boxing Commissions and others raises the issue of the relative safety of sports like boxing and MMA when they are conducted as bare-knuckle fights compared to when the fighters are required to wear gloves.
Dr. Allan J. Ryan, considered to be a co-founder of the field of sports medicine in 1945, wrote an article in 1983 called "Eliminate Boxing Gloves". He also argued that "In 100 years of bare-knuckle fighting in the United States, which terminated around 1897 with a John L Sullivan heavyweight championship fight, there wasn't a single ring fatality."
We thus re-ignite this discussion about which is safer for the athletes in both boxing and MMA, fighting with or without gloves.
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