Norway’s ban on boxing may be eased, but it likely won’t mean that Norwegian world champion Cecilia Brækhus will be able to flight in Norway. Her line of professional boxing would still fail to conform to Norway’s other tough standards for sports competition.
“Pro boxing tends to ignore anti-doping regulations, boxers build up to major fights without an official and approved ranking of boxers, the medical follow-up of boxers is erratic and referees can be paid to influence results,” Andreas Selliaas, a foreign policy expert and sports blogger in Norway, told newspaper Dagsavisen. All of that violates the rules governing Norwegian athletics, he said.
Brækhus, who grew up in Bergen but now lives in Berlin, won another major match last weekend against Sophie Mathis of France and is ranked second in the world. She’s never been able to box professionally at home in Norway, though, and that’s brought the debate over Norway’s boxing ban to the forefront once again.
Now the Norwegian athletics association and the local Olympic Committee have petitioned the state to overturn the ban on professional boxing. “The law is out of date,” athletics president Børre Rognlien told Dagsavisen, noting that the Olympics no longer distinguishes amateur from professional boxing and that Norway has hosted a world championships in kickboxing that demanded use of helmets, like in the Olympics.
The issue is now being evaluated by the state Ministry of Culture, where the government minister in charge congratulated Brækhus on her latest victory.