Adding to the list of this site’s archived combative sports safety studies, research was recently published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performace finding that Rapid Weight Loss was not associated with competitive success for boxers.
In the recent study, titled Rapid Weight Loss Is Not Associated With Competitive Success in Elite Youth Olympic-Style Boxers in Europe, the researchers examined the performance of youth boxers from various European Countries. They looked at whether the boxers utilized rapid weight loss techniques and their competitive success. The study concluded that Rapid Weight Loss techniques where not associated with competitive success.
The full abstract reads as follows:
The aim of this study was to examine the influence of rapid weight loss (RWL) on competitive success in elite youth Olympic-style boxers. In addition, this study examined the practice and prevalence of weight reduction, weight management protocols and related symptoms in youth boxers from twelve European countries (n=83; all males; 17.1±0.9 y).
The data were collected using an extensive questionnaire on weight cutting and its associated protocols and symptoms prior to highest-level continental championships. Competition results were obtained at follow up using a dichotomous variable: medal winning vs. non-winning at the European Championships.
Binary logistic regression analysis indicated that “boxing experience” was significantly related to the criterion competitive outcome (OR=1.33, 95% CI=1.06-1.66, Nagelkerke Rsq=0.11), with a higher likelihood of competitive success for more experienced boxers. Of all the youth boxers, only 25% were included in the RWL group, irrespective of their weight-class stratification. Over 45% of all the youth boxers self-reported the simultaneous combination of different weight-cutting methods that are known to be serious health hazards. Finally, 33% of the boxers experienced muscle weakness as a consequence of RWL.
Our study provided evidence of pathogenic weight-management protocols that are widely adopted by youth boxers, and yet the present outcomes showed that RWL did not translate into competitive success in these elite Olympic-style boxers in Europe. Therefore, we suggest a mandatory educational program that should simultaneously target all the above-mentioned issues, including both health- and performance-threatening consequences.