Sun, 08 Apr 2001

Should Indonesia ban pro boxing?

JAKARTA (JP): The popularity of boxing in the country has catapulted over the last three years, ever since private TV stations began broadcasting weekly matches.

Boxing has since become a favorite of sports fans.

However, the death of professional boxer Muhammad Alfaridzhi early last week has forced people to reconsider the significance of professional boxing.

Many have urged the Indonesian Boxing Commission (KTI) and private TV stations to stop staging boxing matches after Alfa's tragic death, but others claim it is just a matter of the regulations needing improvement. To stop screening matches would be a giant setback for boxing development in the country.

The Jakarta Post reporters tried to capture the public's perspective in this case and asked for suggestions of how to avoid a similar tragedy.

Association of Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI) chairman Adi Sasono:

Exhibiting people in a potentially fatal contest, where they could lose their lives, must be stopped since it is inhumane.

The Indonesian Boxing Commission (KTI) must reconsider staging this savage sport. I don't think it's right, even for spectators, to see people fight each other.

We have various ways to entertain ourselves, but watching boxing ... I'm not so sure.

Anwas, a retired civil servant:

I think professional boxing must be stopped here because the organizers, promoters, managers and doctors are very unprofessional.

The boxers can only follow what they say. I think a boxer's doctor plays the biggest role here. He must observe the boxer thoroughly before a fight, not only judge by his appearance.

Anshor Youth Movement chairman Saifullah Yusuf:

I am a big fan of professional boxing, because it shows sportsmanship and art at the same time. But considering the risks involved, I think we need stricter regulations on it.

I suggest KTI shorten the rounds. And all boxers should undergo a thorough medical examination before a fight and a checkup after every round.

A referee should concentrate on the boxer's safety. If he looks weak then the referee should stop the match, even if it appears that he can go another round and somehow win the match.

It's a good sport, but people shouldn't die because of it.

Insurance employee Rony Budianto:

I saw the match and I think the one to be blamed is Alfaridzhi's coach. He should have thrown in the towel and stopped the match. Maybe then the boxer would still be alive.

But I personally don't agree to the banning of professional boxing in the country. We can't ban a certain sport here. What matters is that KTI must improve itself and be consistent with its regulations.

ICMI deputy chairman Jimmly Assidiqie:

Someone's mortality has nothing to do with what kind of sport he is deeply involved in.

Besides boxing, many sports also involve full body contact, including Indonesian traditional martial arts pencak silat, karate and even wrestling.

We cannot generalize about boxing just because of Alfaridzhi's death.

But I suggest KTI provide more body protection for boxers as an effort to avoid unexpected things, such as a fatal injury, or anything else that might cause death.

We also have to introduce stern regulations in these sports, regulations to which athletes, referees and the organizing committee are bound. Violation of the regulations must incur stern sanctions.

But I don't think boxing matches must be stopped due to the accident.

Housewife Avianti Sugiyanto:

I've never liked boxing ... I think it's a very brutal sport. I always quarrel with my husband about boxing.

As for Alfaridzhi's case, I hope that in future the government will ban TV stations from broadcasting boxing matches. I don't see anything good in this sport.

Golkar Party faction chairman at the House of Representatives Syamsul Muarif:

Actually, I do not consider boxing a sport because sport should make people healthy, not make them get all beaten up or do something that is against the law such as punching other people. Maybe it would be better to stop boxing here.

It would be difficult for the government to ban professional boxing. There is more urgency for rigid regulations on boxing to ensure that such a tragedy does not happen again.

The House should set standards and regulations on health issues in sport, for example the need to have doctors recommendations and a rule on what kind of health condition is necessary for certain sports.

As for Alfaridzhi, there should be a thorough investigation into his death, and those involved in the match must be taken into account due to his death.

Sports should make people healthy, not dead.

Taxi driver Rahmat:

I disagree to professional boxing being banned ... what would happen to the boxers? It's more important that the promoter, manager and coach prioritize a boxer's safety in the ring ... don't only chase after the money. But I think in Indonesia, boxers are still afraid of their managers.

However, I sometimes see that boxers are unrealistic. They should know if they are one level below their opponents. (If they are losing,) they must stop the match ... otherwise, they it's a risk they take.

Martabak vendor Yayat:

It would be too bad if professional boxing had to be stopped because there is a lot of good talent here. The organizers only have to improve their professionalism and change match schedules. The shouldn't stage matches close to midnight. (02/dja/nvn/yan)