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VIOLENCE

Sweden’s boxing ban on the ropes

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The Swedish ban on professional boxing could be lifted within two years, if a proposal from the Ministry of Justice is approved.

Professional boxing has been illegal in Sweden since 1970 and the country’s fighters have been forced to ply their trade abroad. But with the growth of other combat sports such as K1 – where both punches and kicks to the head are allowed – the law has long needed a rethink.

The basis for that rethink came two years ago, with the first version of a government report into combat sports.

The proposal from the Ministry of Justice is expected to provide a framework for all combat sports based on a system of licences for organising fights.

“It’s based on the idea that you have to have permission for arranging such activities,” said the ministry’s Kenneth Wising to Swedish Radio.

“If you have permission then you can arrange [fights], if you don’t have permission then you can’t.”

In the government’s initial report the idea was put forward that the police should handle the licencing of fights. But that was dismissed by the police and the latest thinking, according to Swedish Radio, is that the district council should be responsible.

If the ban is lifted, the sport will find itself having to comply with tough safety regulations. Sweden is one of only four countries in the world in which professional boxing is banned. The others are Norway, Cuba and North Korea.

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BOXING

Swedish boxer Badou Jack misses title after draw with Canada’s Adonis Stevenson

Haitian-born Canadian Adonis Stevenson retained his World Boxing Council light-heavyweight title on Saturday after fighting Sweden's Badou Jack to a majority draw in which no judge scored him a winner.

Swedish boxer Badou Jack misses title after draw with Canada's Adonis Stevenson
Badou Jack (L) punches Adonis Stevenson (R) during their WBC Light Heavyweight title fight in Toronto on Saturday. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/AFP
Stevenson, a 40-year-old southpaw, kept the title after two judges scored the bout 114-114 and the third saw Jack as a 115-113 winner in the title bout at Toronto. In a fight nobody lost, both fighters saw themselves as winners.
 
“I thought I definitely won the fight,” Jack said. “No judge had him winning.”
 
Stevenson's record went to 29-1-1 while Jack settled for his third career draw against 22 wins and a lone defeat.
 
“I feel I win the fight,” Stevenson said. “I hurt him in the body. He got slowed down. I keep pressure on him. He moved slick but I touched him more all the time. I think I win this fight.”
 
All three judges awarded Jack the 12th round to lift him into the draw, which could set the stage for a title rematch.
 
“I feel I win this fight but Badou is a good fighter, two-time world champion,” Stevenson said. “I can give him a rematch if he needs one.”
 
Jack is ready, but wants Stevenson to fight outside Canada for the first time since September 2011. On Twitter, the Swedish slugger set the stage for another bout against the Canadian. 
“Let's do a rematch. Let's do it in Vegas,” Jack said. “I came to his place. Now it's his turn to come to my place.”
 
Jack settled for a draw two fights ago in January 2017 with James DeGale and wondered if the fact he is promoted by retired unbeaten champion Floyd Mayweather played a role in his struggles to get more than draws.
 
“I have no idea,” Jack said. “It could be they are jealous of Floyd. I'm one of Floyd's top fighters. I don't know. I can't do anything about it. I'm not the judge. I've got to respect.”
 
Stevenson extended the second-longest active reign in boxing. He knocked out Chad Dawson for the crown in 2013 and since then stopped six of eight prior foes with two other victories by unanimous decision.
 
Stevenson, who had not fought since stopping Poland's Andrzej Fonfara last June in Montreal, dominated early but struggled late as Jack, with Mayweather at ringside cheering him on, bloodied the champion's nose in the eighth round and controled the pace to the finish.
 
Jack, a 2008 Olympian for his father's homeland of Gambia, owned the WBC super-middleweight crown from 2015 to 2017 and stopped Britain's Nathan Cleverly last August for the World Boxing Association crown, but relinquished the title for the chance to fight Stevenson.