‘Boxing is a mess’: the darkness and damage of brain trauma in the ring

Boxing must address the damage done in the ring and a new book by Tris Dixon lays out what’s left after the final bell rings

The writer, the fighter, the doctor and the widow all look down into the darkness and damage of boxing. They understand the previously untold story of brain trauma in the ring and, as they talk to me, their moving testimony underpins a shared belief that change has to come. There is a measured urgency to their words for they love the fighters and they want to offer their knowledge to help make this brutal sport a little safer.

Damage and death have always framed boxing. This harsh truth means that, despite the chaos outside the ring, boxing is shockingly real. It can maim and even kill but, in a strange paradox, boxing also makes most fighters feel more intensely alive than anything else.

Related: Closed shop? Sport needs more voices to reach real consensus on concussion | Andy Bull

It’s also down to the fighters to not be so macho. Fighters and trainers need to know what’s going on with their brains

Related: The sports world knows concussion can kill. So why does no one talk about it? | Stephanie Convery

I went on the podium, got the gold medal, and I didn’t have a clue where I was. I said: ‘Did I win?’

Related: Escape to glory: the intoxicating myth of boxing as ‘a way out’

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