Journal of Combative Sport has compiled a list of all the deaths in boxing from 1700-2007. In the November 2007 edition it shows that the deaths in boxing continue to rise, over one thousand deaths in boxing a year is one of the tragic parts of the sweet science.
Many fighters in the lower weight divisions who are cutting weight just to have a size advantage over their opponents become victims of brain trauma and death in boxing.
The study examines the difference countries, weight classes and various information on boxer’s deaths.
Some trainers believe that heavy sparring sessions regularly also contribute to the brain trauma causing fighters to slur their speech, and die in the ring. One trainer I spoke to had a theory that when boxers are cutting weight they sap the water from their body and the water in the brain is limited causing swelling from the repeated blows in sparring and in fights.
This is why trainers suggest fighters shouldn’t spar the week before a fight when they are trying to dehydrate the fluids from their body to make the weight division limit. Some fighters have been known to cut well over 30 pounds just to get a size advantage over their opponent.
The sport is fun to watch but scientists and doctors are still trying to figure out ways to limit the brain injuries from it. Tackle football in the United States is also one of the most brutal sports, with players taking powerful hits that cause concussions from high school all the way to the pros, the helmets just prevent any superficial damage to the face and head.
Update Fatalities Listed (Date and Death Count)
July 2000 – 938
December 2001 – 1,101
January 2004 – 1,197
May 2005 – 1,255
April 2006 – 1,326
December 2006 – 1,344
November 2007 – 1,465
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Death under the Spotlight: The Manuel Velasquez Boxing Fatality Collection