Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

Summary: In the brutal sport of boxing, injuries are inevitable. While fighters put their bodies on the line with every punch thrown and absorbed, some injuries can be truly devastating. The worst injuries in boxing can end careers, alter lives, and even cause death. From brain injuries to broken bones, these injuries serve as a grim reminder of the risks associated with this popular combat sport.

1. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Boxing-related TBIs are a serious concern in combat sports. They occur when the head takes a significant impact, causing the brain to move within the skull. Repeated hits to the head can lead to long-term brain damage, dementia, and even premature death. In 2019, boxer Maxim Dadashev died from TBI complications sustained during a fight. Boxing organizations have since implemented more stringent measures to protect fighters, including pre-fight MRI testing and mandatory medical suspensions after knockouts or prolonged beatings.

Despite these measures, TBIs remain a significant threat to boxers. Post-mortem studies have found that many former boxers showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease linked to repetitive head trauma. Boxers who experience multiple concussions or head injuries in their careers are at a higher risk of developing CTE, which can cause symptoms such as memory loss, depression, and aggression.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons reports that boxing ranks second among all sports in the total number of brain injuries, behind only American football.

2. Eye Injuries

Eye injuries are common in boxing and can lead to permanent vision loss or blindness. Blows to the eye can cause a variety of injuries, including orbital fractures, corneal abrasions, and detached retinas. Boxers who suffer eye injuries may need immediate medical attention and may require surgery to prevent permanent damage. In some cases, the injury can end a boxer’s career or force them into early retirement.

One of the most severe eye injuries in boxing occurred during the 1990 fight between Meldrick Taylor and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. Taylor suffered a detached retina and had to undergo several surgeries to repair the damage. He never fully recovered and retired from boxing three years later at the age of 28.

Boxing organizations have put in place rules for eye injuries, including stopping the fight if an injury occurs and requiring an ophthalmologist to clear a fighter before returning to the ring.

3. Facial Fractures

Facial fractures are another common injury in boxing. They occur when a forceful blow to the face breaks the bones in the skull or jaw. Facial fractures can cause severe pain, swelling, and difficulty breathing or eating. Depending on the location and severity of the fracture, surgery may be necessary to stabilize the bone and ensure proper healing.

Former boxer Diego Corrales suffered a facial fracture during his fight against Antonio Diaz in 2001. Despite the injury, Corrales continued fighting and ultimately won the match. However, the injury required him to take time off to recover, and he remained cautious about taking future fights that could put his health at risk.

Boxers who suffer facial fractures are at risk of reinjury and may require extended recovery time. Organizations like the World Boxing Council require fighters to undergo regular medical testing to ensure they are fit to fight.

4. Spinal Injuries

While less common than other types of boxing injuries, spinal injuries can be among the most severe. They occur when a forceful strike to the head or neck causes damage to the spinal cord. Spinal injuries can result in paralysis, loss of sensation, and muscle weakness.

In 2013, boxer Magomed Abdusalamov suffered a spinal injury during his bout with Mike Perez. The injury left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak. After months of rehabilitation, he regained some mobility but remained unable to return to boxing. The incident led to increased scrutiny on the safety of boxers and prompted new regulations regarding medical clearances and safety procedures.

Boxers who suffer severe spinal injuries may require lifelong care and may struggle to maintain their quality of life.

5. Broken Bones

Broken bones are a common result of forceful and repeated impacts in boxing. Boxers can experience broken noses, hands, ribs, and even skulls. These injuries can cause severe pain, swelling, and bruising and may require surgery to repair.

The 1996 fight between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson is perhaps the most infamous example of a boxing-related broken bone. In the third round of the match, Tyson bit off a piece of Holyfield’s ear, causing a laceration and cartilage damage that required surgery to repair. Tyson was disqualified from the fight and fined $3 million for his actions.

Boxers who suffer fractured bones may be at risk of reinjury and may require extended time off to recover. Organizations like the International Boxing Federation require fighters to obtain medical clearance before returning to the ring after an injury.


Boxing is one of the most dangerous sports in the world, due to its high level of physicality and potential for serious injuries. While these injuries are part of the risk inherent in the sport, boxing organizations have taken steps to mitigate the dangers and protect the health of fighters. Improved safety measures, stricter regulations, and better medical testing have all played a role in reducing the severity and frequency of injuries.

Despite these measures, injuries remain a significant risk for boxers. As the sport continues to evolve and push the limits of what is physically possible, it is essential that fighters, trainers, and organizations prioritize safety and health above all else.

Boxing can be a thrilling and rewarding sport, but it also comes with significant risks. Fighters and fans alike must acknowledge these risks and work together to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone involved.

By admin

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