In January 2019, the WBC is set to introduce a weight management programme, aimed at increasing the health and safety of fighters across the globe.
The set of changes, created by the WBC’s Medical Advisory Board, is led by Dr Paul Wallace.
The WBC already has weigh-ins thirty days, seven days and twenty-four hours before the fight. Under the new programme, additional weigh-ins will be introduced. The first new weigh-in will occur 14 days prior to the fight, but perhaps the most important addition is a final weigh in on the very day of the bout.
At thirty days a fighter can weigh no more than ten percent higher than the contracted weight. At fourteen days, a fighter can be no higher than five percent. At seven days, they cannot be in excess of three percent. After the official weigh-in, on fight day the fighter must weigh no more than ten percent above the weight limit stipulated for that division, which was achieved twenty-four hours before the bell rings to start the bout.
The new weigh-in rules will come into force in June. The ten percent rule on fight day will start in January. Also from January onwards fighters must present an annual MRI scan.
Dr Wallace explains that the new programme is designed to combat the existing problems with dehydration and rehydration. Dr Wallace is adamant the reform is needed as some boxers are going through appalling extremes to lose weight when naturally they can be between twenty and fifty percent heavier than their weight category.
Dr Wallace warns that a five percent water loss when trying to make fight weight is dangerous, but a ten percent water loss is critical. A fighters performance and cardiovascular function is decreased at ten percent. Fighters are also more likely to suffer from cramps, increased risk of brain injury, strokes, permanent kidney malfunction and personality change. Female boxers can also suffer hormonal imbalances when making drastic weight cuts.
Dr Wallace insists that boxers should be fighting within their weight classes, and those who think they are getting a huge advantage, by squeezing down lower via running themselves into the ground, steam baths, and hot towels must not be allowed to get away with this old flannel. He also warns:
“It’s unbelievable what our athletes are doing to their bodies. The WBC stands out as a leader and health and safety. Its nutrition program is very detailed. You can see what should be done and it makes common sense. I’m preaching to the choir!”