The Beard Struggle


Author: The Beard Struggle

Published at: Jul 23, 2021

Bearded amateur boxers in England, UK will be allowed to compete in the sport without having to remove their facial hair after the governing body agreed to abolish a former long-standing ruling which had previously banned all facial hair from the ring.

Previously, fighters were required to be cleanly shaven during the competition, partly believed to be in place so that cuts to the face could be seen and scored within the sport.

Sikh and Muslim groups had been campaigning for a change in the rules for some time, whilst England Boxing, which governs the sport at amateur ranks, have ended such restrictions from the 1st June.

These new rules are expected to continue to lobby in the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) with the strong possibility to view possible changes to the rule at the international level and across the park.

ABIBA's Chief executive Gethin Jenkins said - 'Boxing is rightly proud of its diversity and we hope by changing this rule we continue with our attempts to be as inclusive as possible.'

The British Boxing Board of Control, which oversees all rulings in professional boxing in Britain, has no ban on facial hair.

General secretary Robert Smith added - 'We removed a similar rule a long time ago, It was only reasonable and common sense to lift it.'

However, while professional boxers can compete with facial hair, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) still prohibits boxers with beards or mustaches.

'It should not be a case of choosing religion or boxing' The Sikh faith considers hair sacred as part of God's creation. Maintaining uncut hair all over their bodies is one of the five articles of faith for Sikhs, both men, and women.

Indi Singh coaches for the Sikh Ethos combat sports organization, which has 11 clubs across the face of England. He approached England Boxing about the beard ban in November 2017.

He said - 'There are so many young Sikhs aspiring to box who have previously been held back by the rule. They had the prospect of no amateur experience unless they compromised their beliefs. Sikhs have always had the heart and the mentality and now we have got the opportunity to get better.

"Now that the doors are open for all in England, we expect to see future Sikhs competing on the international amateur boxing circuit. We will take up this issue with AIBA. We are also planning to take it up with India's amateur boxing association via our India team.'

It seems that rules are often put into place without much if any real thought as to why they are issued in the first place.

In former rulings, these were originally put into place to govern another's thoughts, usually delivered as a safety ruling, but as times have changed so should rules and regulations.

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And until next time, Beard on Brothers...

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