Sweden ends 36-year ban on boxing sort of

Sweden, birthplace of former heavyweight champion of the world Ingemar Johansson and one of the more enlightened countries on the planet, banned professional boxing in 1970 after a study determined that the those who engage on the sport run the risk of suffering severe and even life-threatening injuries, and that boxing had a brutalizing effect on the audience and was governed by unsound economic interests, according to the AP.

That law will run its course by year’s end and the Swedes will now allow boxing events to take place, while maintaining the ban on full-fledged professional boxing in Sweden.

The Swedish organizers who sought permission to have fights in their country agreed after much debate to alter the rules of the pro game to make them more similar to amateur boxing which means fewer rounds, allowing doctors to stop the bouts, and the like.

But the commission turned down a request by Sauerland Event to stage a WBA heavyweight title fight featuring champion Nikolai “The Russian Giant” Valuev in Stockholm in January. The proposed title fight would have been fought under the WBA’s regular rules, where the boxers run the risk of severe and even life-threatening injuries, etc., so the commission nixed a big fight with big Nic in their home country.

That, however, isn’t the end of story. A boxing event in Goteborg in January featuring former WBO titleholder Armand Krajnc and Sweden’s top female boxer, Asa Sandell, was given the thumbs-up.

Krajnc praised the decision. “It’s nice that there are still sensible people in Sweden,” he told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter. “But this has taken way too long… To be able to finish your career in your own country isn’t bad.”