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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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