Sweden’s boxing ban could end

Professional boxing has been illegal in Sweden since 1970, but it could be time to start booking ringside seats after the new Martial Arts Delegation has its first meeting in Örebro today, Dagens Nyheter reports.

The delegation consists of three people: a legal expert, Petra Lundh; a medical expert, Björn Lindvall; and a board member from the Swedish Sports Confederation, Helen Wiklind Wårell. Both the boxing and the martial arts federations have appealed the inclusion of Wiklund-Wirell but she will remain on the board until further notice.

The ban on professional boxing has recently been replaced by a new law, which leaves decisions on martial arts or boxing events in the hands of the newly formed Martial Arts Delegation.

When the delegation today convenes for the first time it will decide on four applications, three of which are boxing-related.

The new law came into being in order to protect those who participate in violent sports from brain injury. As a result it is possible that professional boxing will soon be welcomed back into the Swedish sporting community, if it is seen to take the necessary precautions.

“I don’t like professional boxing the way it is now, but I hope it is allowed because it would be good for the boxers,” ringside doctor Sanna Neselius told The Local.

Neselius was once a professional boxer herself, competing primarily in Germany and Finland, and has personal experience of the medical dangers.

“I would like the rules to be changed so that it becomes more like amateur boxing, with fewer rounds and better protection,” she said.