Boxing gloves, trainers allowed to thrown in the towel
Trainers allowed to thrown in the towel in Combat Sports / Pic: Emanuel Rudnicki

Press release

Shadow Minister for Sport Lynda Voltz MLC today introduced a Bill into the NSW Upper House to enshrine in legislation the right of a trainer to direct the referee to stop a Combat Sport contest if the health and safety of the combatant was at risk.

Ms Voltz says the Bill proposes inserting a clause that the referee ‘must stop a combat sport contest if the trainer of a combatant directs the referee to stop the contest because the combatant is exhausted or injured to such an extent as to be unable to defend himself or continue the contest.’

The Act does not currently include provisions for the trainer to direct a referee to stop the contest. This fails to acknowledge the important role and experience of the trainer.

This Bill adopts the recommendations made by the Deputy State Coroner, following the death of boxer Davey Browne during a professional boxing contest in September 2015.

This Bill will insert a clause in to Section 66 ‘Referee’s duty to stop contest’ in order to provide additional protection for the safety of combatants, by granting their trainer the authority to direct a referee to stop the contest. After the death of Mr Brown, the Combat Sports Rules have been amended to allow a trainer to ‘throw in the towel’ if in their opinion the bout should cease. This is completely inadequate.

Currently all powers to stop a fight are enshrined in legislation and the failure of the right of a trainer to stop the fight in to be enshrined in the legislation is errant. Trainers will look to the legislation, not the Rules.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Sports Minister Lynda Voltz

“This amendment clarifies the trainer’s authority to call for the contest to be stopped and brings it in line with the corresponding powers of the referee, inspector, and medical practitioner, which are all within the Act.

“The resulting coronial inquest of Davey Browne demonstrated the inadequacy of existing laws in protecting combatants. It was evident to many in the audience and during the inquest that after Round 11, Davey was concussed and no longer able to defend himself.

Most combatants will be prepared to remain in the contest, even when injured or concussed, and at the time may be unaware of the extent of their injuries. This is why it is imperative that those around the fighter, who know them best, such as their trainers, have the power to direct the referee to stop the contest.”