controversial Three-minute rounds ruled out for Katie Taylor's fight with Amanda Serrano in Madison Square Garden
Boxing chiefs have ruled out any prospect of Katie Taylor’s world championship fight against Amanda Serrano being staged over 12 three-minute rounds.
Serrano upstaged the undisputed World lightweight champion at a press conference in London by proposing that their April 30 showdown in New York’s Madison Square Garden be fought over 12 three-minute rounds instead of the traditional ten two-minute rounds.
Any remote prospect of the fight taking place over 12 rounds has now been scotched by the World Boxing Council, one of the four sanctioning bodies for the multi-million-dollar showdown.
WBC women's championship chairman Malte Mueller-Michaelis told Independent.ie: “The WBC is very clear and stands firmly with the decision only to support, approve and sanction women's fights over ten rounds with a length of two minutes per round.
“This has been our position since we started sanctioning women's championships in 2005 and we are not willing to change it.
“The top priority of the WBC has always been and will always be the health, safety and wellbeing of the boxers. The only reason the WBC exists is because of the boxers and to be a service for the boxers.”
Ms Mueller-Michaelis said there was medical and scientific research proving that women are more likely to get concussions.
“I honestly don’t see any good reason for change,” she said, adding that she was willing to publicly debate the issue with Amanda Serrano and others who promote a different position.
“Whenever I am asked why we are not changing our rules, I tend to reply by asking, why should we? Some people argue that women will not get paid the same or get the same attention as men as long as they are fighting over a shorter distance. To me, this is just a wrong assumption.
“Of course, we believe in equality and we fight for equal pay for women in boxing. But there is no reason for them to take a bigger risk to get what they deserve.
“Boxers are not paid by the minute. If that was the case Mike Tyson would not have made a lot of money in the early stages of his career.
“In fact, he made good money and became one of the biggest stars of our sport by knocking out his opponents in one round.
“When he became the youngest world champion in the history of our sport, he had never fought for 12 rounds - and most of his fights didn’t even last two minutes. So the length of fights really shouldn't affect purses, or the general value given to a fight.
“There are also other sports which prove that equal pay for men and women does not mean that they have to compete over the same distance.
“Finally, to be honest, I believe that women's fights are more attractive because of the shorter rounds. In most three-minute rounds you will see fighters starting slowly or taking breaks. You normally don't see that in women's fights.
“So if we are discussing gender equality and really want to have men and women go the same distance, why don't we bring men's fights down to ten rounds by two minutes?
“We already cut them down from 15 to 12 rounds for safety reasons so I believe it is more likely that we will change men's rules than women's rules,” she suggested.
The WBC official said the organisation had worked closely with UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) hospital and medical centre, which has done studies on the topic.
She cited the work of PINK Concession, a non-profit organisation which focuses on pre-injury education and post-injury medical care for women and girls with brain injury, including concussion incurred from sport, violence, accident or military service.
Their research revealed that women and girls sustain more concessions at a higher rate than their male counterparts in sports with similar rules and are documented to have a higher number, and more severe, symptoms than males.
Furthermore, in some studies women have been found to have longer recovery periods than males, and more prolonged concussion symptoms.
In relation to the Taylor/Serrano fight, the fact that contracts have already been signed meant that the remarks made by the challenger were essentially a publicity stunt, as well as being a possible excuse if she loses to Taylor in April.
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