View Full Version : First Icelandic Amateur Boxing Championships in 53 years
Tonight we had the finals of the first Icelandic Amateur Boxing Championships in 53 years. It was a great event and really reaffirmed what we've been doing in terms of reconstruction after the ban was lifted. I'm proud to say I had 6 of my fighters win championships (out of 12 contested) and I'm especially proud of one fighter who I worked with closely over the last few months. He reversed his only loss in the semifinals (from a month earlier) by really digging down and working his *** off in the gym and then became probably the No. 1 Pound-for-Pound fighter in Iceland by twice dropping the 2004 fighter of the year in the electrifying final, fighting as a slight underdog. I hope I can post a video of that fight along with that belated copy of my own match.
Dadi, congratulations on the performance of your students! I look forward to seeing the videos.
Congratulations on being a part of your country's boxing history!
Wow that's fantastic news Ezz! You should be proud because I'm sure you worked your a** off too!
I wasn't even aware there was a ban. Please educate us.
Dadi, why was there a ban?
In 1943 there was a big brawl involving known boxers and that has often been connected with the beginning of the end. After a dance at Artists Cabin in Reykjavik a fight broke out that concluded when a boxer hit three police officers over the head with a club. While Icelandic boxers where not pleased by this incident, it did not enter discussion on boxing at the time. This was during the war and brawls where a regular occurance. It was only when the boxing ban was being debated by parliament 13 years later that the opponents of boxing brought it up. The Icelandic Sports Association (hereafter called ISI) however, immediately put in effect a change of regulation suspending athletes from competition if they proved guilty of criminal acts.
At the time boxing enjoyed popularity and moral and medical objection had quieted somewhat after boxing became officially recognized by the ISI in 1933. However, those voices never grew completely silent and in 1952 a Dr. Alfred Gislason published an anti-boxing article in medical journal supported by an editorial indirectly mentioning the Artists Brawl (as it became known). This became the basis of a bill meant to ban boxing. Two years later several anti-boxing articles were published in the newspaper Visir, including an interview with police captain Thorolf Smith. Smith became known as the foremost opponent of boxing in Iceland. Around about that time the last boxing competition had just been held and the poor quality competitors had given the opposition fuel to the fire.
Thorolf Smith became the editor of Sports Magazine and started forceful objection immediately through his editorials. This became a problem for the ISI, as the Nordic Sports Council had recently voted to object attacks on the sport of boxing. Former boxer Birgir Thorvaldsson answered back that it was absurdly inappropriate of the Sports Magazine editor to maintain an attack on a single sport. He also urged the magazine's publishers to fire Smith so that he wouldn't further disgrace its pages. "I know I speak on behalf of all true sportsmen." Birgir had cited offical records of sports injuries, saying injuries were a common hazard to all sports and that the opposition frequently confused professional and amateur boxing, making no distinction.
The criticism of the sport had probably reached the ears of many, while Icelandic boxers themselves were not in the spotlight. Boxing was in a depression between 1954-1956 and the last Icelandic Amateur Boxing Championships had been held in 1953. On March 21, 1956 a bill was presented in parliament calling for a full ban on boxing. The ISI reached an agreement that same day and sent its objections to parliament, signed by ISI president Ben G. Waage. It was pointed out that boxing was an Olympic sport and an accepted sport around the world.
The issue was debated throughout the year and the new Sports Magazine editor, Brynjolfur Ingolfsson, took a more conservative tone than his predecessor. "I am uncertain whether [the backers of the bill] mean to save the lives and health of born and unborn countrymen, or whether they are merely doing the same as one farmer of the west fjods did when he kicked a dead bear, shot by another man, and knighting himself a champion. If the former is true, it is odd, as it has not really been practiced here for at least 1-2 years." Brynjolfur also questioned why the ban proponents had to resort to such misleading arguments, since most if not all of the boxing related fatalities they mentioned were in the professional ranks.
After some further debate, the bill was passed and confirmed December 19, 1956 by President Asgeir Asgeirsson.
Quite a history.
Belated great job to you Ezz!
Quite a history.
Belated great job to you Ezz!
Thanks :) Just the Cliffs Notes version. Sadly, the discussion did not get more informed when they debated dropping the ban a few years ago. The difference was that there were now some in parliament willing to back boxing, though not through informed opinion. That's why it should never have been left to politicians in the first place... it should have been settled by the ISI.
Politicians screw everything up. They nearly banned MMA here in the US. Is boxing back 100% or just in the amatuer ranks?
Just the amateurs... I don't think there were ever pro shows over here back in the day, but they weren't banned per se. Now it would only be detrimental to the amateurs to have pro boxing over here. If you want to go pro, you can always go to Denmark, Germany or the UK. Since the Faroe Islands and Greenland are in effect Danish territory, technically we could have pro shows there.
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