This week, Get Inspired on the BBC focussed on wheelchair boxing, a relatively new sport. WDSA were lucky enough to be able to talk to Phil Blousfield, who along with Colin Woods, is one of the pioneers of the sport in the UK.
Phil previously played rugby league for both Wales and North Wales before taking up wheelchair boxing. The first official fight was held on the 4th December 2015, where Phil fought against Paul Robinson.
We asked Phil, what was the most important thing that people should know about when they come to wheelchair boxing, and the answer was surprisingly refreshing. Health and Safety. Phil told us that the sport is “taken very seriously, health and safety is the key point.”
The rules of wheelchair boxing are clear on that point also.
- Fights take place over three three-minute rounds
- Head guards must be worn at all times
- Fighters are classified by disability on a points system from 1.0 to 4.5 based on the level of mobility and trunk movement they have in the chair
- They can compete in six different weight classes
All competitors are rigorously health checked, with regular medicals being a part of the training regime and head guards are mandatory in all fights.
Wheelchair boxing will soon be a highlight of the wheelchair sporting field. Phil said, “23 countries participate in the sport right now, and we need 30 to be included in the Paralympics. We’re aiming for the 2024 games.”
Phil and the team are looking for more people, particularly women, to get involved in the sport. He said, “We want to prove to people with disabilities that they can do it. We want more people to try it.” You can find the Wheelchair boxing group on Facebook or get more information by searching online for Modified Mixed Martial Arts Wheeled Warriors.
The next big fight will be in Coventry on the 27th August, and we are very excited to say that we have been invited to attend. We will of course report back to you all after the event.
Written by Claire Colley for the WDSA (UK).