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Why Olympic Boxers Aren’t Wearing Headgear Anymore
April 28, 2024

Why Olympic Boxers Aren’t Wearing Headgear Anymore

SOMETHING IS MISSING from Olympics boxing this year. Did you notice? It’s lot easier to see the faces of male boxers---taunting, grimacing, or smiling in all their Olympian glory. This year, the Olympics ditched boxing headgear for the first time since 1984, making it look a lot more like professional boxing.

The decision, according to statements from amateur boxing’s governing organization---the International Boxing Association, or AIBA---came down to safety. Counterintuitively, referees had to stop matches for head injuries (aka likely concussions) more often when boxers were wearing headgear, according to an AIBA study. But whether ditching headgear actually makes boxers safer---especially from non-concussion injuries---is, well, more complicated.

“This rule change was rather surprising for lot of people. There’s still lot of research that needs to be done,” says Cynthia Bir, a University of Southern California biomechanics researcher who has evaluated boxing equipment for USA Boxing. In fact, female Olympians will still be wearing headgear in boxing, due to lack of safety data. (AIBA did not respond to requests for comment.)

What almost everyone can agree on is that foam padding does little to protect against concussions and knockout blows. Punch hard enough, and you overwhelm the foam’s ability to absorb energy. “The headgear becomes less useful and then not useful,” says Blaine Hoshizaki, a head injury researcher at the University of Ottawa.

Plus, the headgear still leaves boxers vulnerable to punches to the jaw, which are most likely to cause concussions because they whip the head around. “Boxers know that to get the knockout, you need to make the head spin,” says Bir. “Jabs aren’t going to do much.” Your brain normally sits suspended in fluid; when your head whips around, the brain whips around too, the tissue stretching and compressing. This causes concussions.

But why would wearing headgear increase the rate of likely concussions? The AIBA’s study has a few theories: Headgear makes it tougher to see, so boxers can’t dodge as well. Or perhaps headgear creates a false sense of safety and boxers take more risks. It also makes the boxer’s head a bigger target.

Another matter to consider though: Concussions aren’t the only head injuries boxers get. “A lot of the long-term consequences of repetitive head trauma may be from many, many subconcussive blows over time,” says Charles Bernick, a neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Bernick has been following a group of professional boxers and MMA fighters since 2011, and he’s found that even the brains of fighters who have not reported concussions exhibit damage visible in MRI scans.

These subconcussive blows, which don’t have any immediately obvious symptoms, could also lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, over time. “With concussions, you can see it and you can diagnose it,” says Hoshizaki. “The challenge is the ones you don’t see, don’t feel. This is I think the scary part.” Headgear could mitigate some of these blows. But it’s hard to study because it’s hard to measure how much brain damage these subconcussive blows actually cause; the same punch might cause damage in one person but not another because of the structure of their head or neck musculature.

The AIBA has tried to get more professional in recent years---the extra “A” in the acronym is a remnant from when it had “amateur” in its name. And the group made other changes for the Olympics this year: It changed the scoring system to bring it in line with the pro boxing and allowed professionals to qualify for the games. (Though only three are competing in Rio.) Pros have a good reason to not use headgear
VBO Report for 2023
January 3, 2024

VBO Report for 2023

Vietnam Boxing Organization publishes its performance for 2023.
December 18, 2023


A sensational boxing debut in October by Duong Duc Bao had plenty of people asking to see more - and more you shall see. 
To say Bao was impressive in his first fight is an understatement. 
He totally dominated a far more experienced boxer, and forced the stoppage. The 20 year old produced volume, power punches and created some nice angles off a southpaw stance. It was literally an overwhelming performance. 
But matching fighters can be a difficult game.
A 7 times national kickboxing champion and 2019 Sea Games gold medalist named Pham Ba Hoi wants to debut as a pro boxer. 
But hey, who the hell would want to fight a guy with this sort of resume ?

Duong Duc Bao - that's who !
Ladies and gentlemen, grab your popcorn, this is our main event. ENJOY !

#vspgym #vietnamboxingorganization #vspboxing #Webthethao #vsppro #quickom #boxingvietnam #VSPPromotions #vbo
Fight 6: Trương Ngô Gia Huy vs. Hồ Minh Chiều
November 25, 2023

Fight 6: Trương Ngô Gia Huy vs. Hồ Minh Chiều

Trận đấu vô cùng gay cấn khi Hồ Minh Chiều (MMA Sài Gòn) sử dụng lối đánh áp sát tấn công triệt để lên Trương Ngô Gia Huy (CLB Boxing TP. Hồ Chí Minh). Các phương án tấn công không ngừng nghỉ liên tục được tung ra khiến Gia Huy gặp rất nhiều khó khăn. Với tỉ số 39-37, 40-36, 39-37, Hồ Minh Chiều đã giành chiến thắng đầu tiên tại VSP Pro.

#VSPBoxing #Webthethao #boxing #quyenanh

November 19, 2023


I have been asked this question many times and you will be surprised to find that most people (even folks from the Boxing industry) don't really understand it.  

There is the technical definition between the two sports such as differences in the rules but that is a very shallow and limited understanding of the sport.

Fundamentally, amateur sports focus on finding the best athletes to represent the city, province, and finally the nation at various international tournaments for the glory of the country the athletes represent.  This is a very important role which national Federations plays.  The Federation can decide whatever it sees fit to devise local tournament rules and determine winners based on it's own standards since they are the sole power in the amateur sport they represent in that country. International community has no saying in the process of selecting top athletes to represent the country by each Federations but share same rules when competing in international tournaments such as ASIAD, OLYMPICS, SEA GAMES etc.

Professional sports however has a very different goal.  It is all about commercial benefits to the organizer and the athletes participating in the event.  It has no interest in finding the best boxer but rather focuses on what organizers can "sell" to the public and sponsors to watch.  There are no international tournaments such as SEA Games, Asian Games, or the Olympics. In professional boxing, all matches are one single event and there is no medals or 2nd place award.  There is simply a winner and a looser.  

Professional Boxing is based on a global ranking system to determine if one boxer is "better" than another, and this has a big impact on the money that athletes can demand from the organizer for participating in an event. (Generally, if a fighter have had more fights in the past with many wins, they can demand more money because more people would likely know the boxer and thus it is easier for the organizer to market the event.)  In this regard, the international community had to agree in using a common database that records such ranking.  One of such platforms where you can find combat history of athletes is called BoxRec.  It is a private website that has managed to invest in collecting most fight results around the world which is used as the first place to look when researching about a boxer.  

Because of the global ranking, a boxing match cannot be called  professional boxing simply because it applied professional rules.  It also cannot be called as professional boxing by a national Federation or even by a government alone.  For a boxing match to be accepted as "professional boxing", it must be recognized by international organizations as meeting certain standards, procedures, and paperwork. Otherwise, you can have any organizations claiming to have "local authority" to declare results of boxing matches that may not be fair and transparent. The professional boxing community has fought off countless attempts by various organizations claiming have "authority" to try and insert the results of matches that do not meet required standards.

Now who are these "international organizations" in professional boxing?  

Most people think they are WBO, WBC, IBF, WBA.  Many also wrongly think that above organizations are equivalent to IOC or FIFA but they are not.  They are all private organizations that have been successful at marketing their brands around the world.  There are over 65 of such companies but WBO, WBA, IBF, WBA are the biggest.  Each of them have their own rules and criteria as to who can fight for their belt.  They make money from the organizer (called "promoter" in boxing) who arranges events involving their brand.  In any boxing event, they work with the organizer to witness and manage the fight involving their brand only.  

Commissions are organizations that understand the requirements of being accepted as a "professional boxing" and act as an auditor to "supervise" a boxing event which are non-title fights.  Almost all professional boxing commissions in the world are private organizations except for USA and the Philippines.  Even in those countries, amateur boxing is separately managed from professional boxing since mixing amateur and professional sports often lead to corruption.  

Commissions have commercial agreements with other commissions after ensuring that they are mutually satisfied with the quality and the integrity of the supervision (audit) of a boxing match which may involve boxers under their management.  Each country can have multiple commissions. Korea has over 5 professional boxing commissions.  Japan had 2 commissions at one time but now has one private commission.  As long as a boxing match meets a certain criteria, the international community will accept it as being a "professional boxing match" and record the result.  

In Vietnam, only VBO is accepted as having met international standard by other private commissions in Japan, China, Korea, Philippines and also Boxrec.  This does not mean VBO is the licensing authority for a boxing event nor an exclusive organization for boxing in Vietnam. VBO works with any promoters who is licensed by the government to organize a boxing event to provide consultancy, audit, and boxing management to meet a certain standards that are recognized by boxing organizations which VBO has commercial agreements with.  Only then, the boxing match is recognized as being a "Professional Boxing" match by the the international community.  

It is important  to note that if a boxing match is supervised by an organization or even government that the international community does not recognize as having a certain knowledge and standard, it will not be recorded as Professional Boxing no matter what the local organization claim it to be.  

Recently, Vietnam Boxing Federation (VBF) has been trying to disrupt legally licensed boxing events claiming to be the sole authority to approve professional boxing in Vietnam.  It is important to note that they have charged promoters in the past over USD 10,000 dollars for "sanctioning fee" and demanded various perks such as free rooms and flight tickets for their guests. They used amateur scoring system and ultimately had no recognition by international community involved in professional boxing.  For these reasons and many more, all the professional boxing events they supervised in the past were not recognized by major commissions and boxing organizations such as BoxRec.  In contrast, VBO provides its services for free to all promoters as a sponsorship.  

Another reason why VBF is rejected by the professional boxing community is because some senior executives of VBF are also gym owners, managers of boxers, and also a promoter that competes with other organizers of professional boxing in the market.  Clear conflict of interest is one thing but they haved used their authority to send various government departments to intimidate and try to disrupt boxing events by all other organizers.  

So far, VBF has yet to supervise one single professional boxing event listed on BoxRec.  In 2023, there were 2 events done by SSC.  The owner of SSC is also the Vice President of HBF and President of VBF.  The promoter of the event, Shadow Entertainment, is partly owned by the President of VBF.  

Rather than just repeating an empty slogan that VBF is the sole authority, it is important for them to first act as a responsible organization by establishing a clear rules of professional boxing for Vietnam, and also establish working agreements with various professional organizations around the world so their supervision of a professional boxing match is accepted as credible and transparent.  

In comparison, VBO does not have any boxers under contractual management and certianly don't charge any fees of any kind to boxers.  It has sponsored over 13 events in 2023 with combination of free services to organizers, gloves, hand wraps, seminars, fighter purses, flight tickets, hotel, and meals.  The result is that VBO has produced over 80% of new professional boxers in Vietnam including 100% of all female boxers.   With over 2bil VND in sponsorship, it is unlikely VBO is out to collect money from boxers they are paying and supporting in the first place as claimed by VBF.

VBO does not have any form of agreements with WBA, WBO, IBF, WBC or any other such organizations.  Those are commercial arrangements with the organizer/promoters.

"Sanctioning" is not a legal word.  It means following a certain standards for a match to be recognized by the Sanctioning organization.  For WBO title fights, WBO will be the Sanctioning organization for their brand and VBO does not get involved in that.

Function of a commission is to protect safety and welfare of boxers rather than showcasing their authority or titles guven by higher powers.  It is important that any organization claiming to be the authority first demonstrate their capability before asking for the acceptance of their competence.

November 17, 2023


VBO will preside over a huge international card to be held in Vũng Tàu tomorrow night.

"The VBO will regulate the event to help ensure the safety of all fighters, and to ensure that bouts are conducted and scored in a professional manner" as was explained by Dr. Lim Song at today's rules meeting.

Ten countries will take part in Saturday's event, with the main bout being a WBO Global Title.

#vietnamboxingorganization #vbo #cockybuffalo #Intercontinentalgrandhotram #thegrandhotram

November 16, 2023


Botswana boxer Moabi Ngaka arrived in Saigon late last night, yet was up early this morning and hard at work at VSP Boxing Gym. 
Ngaka makes headlines as the first Botswana fighter to venture to Vietnam, when he appears at a big international event to be held in Vũng Tàu this Saturday night.
The Botswana boxer, known as the Eagle, will compete against local Vietnam talent Thai Hoang Huy over 6 rounds.
The event has been put together by top local promoter Mr. Sang Bum Kim of Cocky Buffalo Promotions, and will take place at the prestigious Grand Ho Tram Resort and Casino. 
Moabi Ngaka is pictured this morning at VSP Gym with trainer and former national team boxer Thabang Motsewabeng.
Vietnam 🇻🇳 welcomes boxing friends and visitors from many countries, and wishes Botswana 🇧🇼 a great performance this Saturday night.
September 30, 2023


This was the main event, and it was a cracking contest between two very promising featherweights.

Without doubt -  the best fight of the night !

ĐỖ VĂN THIỆN NGÂN and ĐOÀN HOÀI NHỚ went non-stop, sharing plenty of great moments in a fight that rightfully could have gone either way.

The judges nod was a split decision win to the Ca Mau boxing team fighter ĐOÀN HOÀI NHỚ.

Very excited to see both of these top prospects in future bouts !

May 11, 2022


1. Each round shall consist of a three (3) minute duration, with a one (1) minute rest period between rounds.

2. The referee is the sole arbiter of a bout and is the only individual authorized to stop a contest. This rule shall not preclude a video or other review of a decision under the procedures of the applicable regulatory authority if a protest is filed claiming a clear rule violation.

3. All bouts will be evaluated and scored by three (3) judges.

4. The 10 Point Must System will be the standard system of scoring a bout.

5. The Mandatory Eight (8) Count after knockdowns will be standard procedure in all bouts.

6. All professional boxers are required to wear a mouthpiece during competition. The round cannot begin without the mouthpiece. If the mouthpiece is dislodged during competition, the referee will call time and have the mouthpiece replaced at the first opportune moment, without interfering with the immediate action. Points may be deducted by the referee if he feels the mouthpiece is being purposely spit out.

7. There is NO Standing Eight (8) Count.

8. There is NO Three (3) Knockdown Rule.

9. A boxer shall receive a twenty (20) second count if the boxer is knocked out of the ring. The boxer is to be unassisted by spectators or his/her seconds. If assisted by anyone, the boxer may lose points or be disqualified with such a decision being within the sole discretion of the referee.

10. A boxer who has been knocked down cannot be saved by the bell in any round.

11. If a boxer sustains an injury from a fair blow and the injury is severe enough to terminate the bout, the injured boxer shall lose by TKO.

12. Injuries sustained by Fouls:

A. Intentional Fouls

  1. If an intentional foul causes an injury, and the injury is severe enough to terminate the bout immediately, the boxer causing the injury shall lose by disqualification.
  2. If an intentional foul causes an injury and the bout is allowed to continue, the referee shall notify the authorities and deduct two
    (2) points from the boxer who caused the foul. Point deductions for intentional fouls will be mandatory.
  3. If an intentional foul causes an injury and the bout is allowed to continue, and the injury results in the bout being stopped in any
    round after the fourth (4th) round, the injured boxer will win by TECHNICAL DECISION if he is ahead on the score cards;
    and the bout will result in a TECHNICAL DRAW if the injured boxer is behind or even on the score cards.
  4. If the boxer injures himself while attempting to intentionally foul his opponent, the referee will not take any action in his favor, and this injury shall be the same as one produced by a fair blow.
  5. If the referee feels that a boxer has conducted himself in an
    unsportsmanlike manner, he may stop the bout and disqualify the

B. Accidental Fouls

  1. If an accidental foul causes an injury severe enough for the referee to stop the bout, the bout will result in a NO DECISION if stopped before four (4) completed rounds. Four (4) rounds are complete when the bell rings signifying the end of the fourth round.
  2. If an accidental foul causes an injury severe enough for the referee to stop the bout after four ( 4) rounds have occurred, the bout will result in a TECHNICAL DECISION awarded to the boxer who is ahead on the score cards at the time the bout is stopped.
a. Partial or incomplete rounds will be scored. If no action has occurred, the round should be scored as an even round. This is at the discretion of the judges.

13. A fighter who is hit with an accidental low blow must continue after a reasonable amount of time but no more than five (5) minutes, or he/she will lose the fight.

November 1, 2021


So, you are watching a boxing match and it is clear that Boxer A is getting his faced punched in by the Boxer B.  After many rounds, the final bell rings and you are 100% certain that the Boxer B had won the fight but suddenly judges award the win to the Boxer A and you are left thinking "what just happened?".  This post will shed some light as to how this could easily happen.

Danilo Creati fights Tran Duc Tho in Victory8 Welcome to Vietnam

At VSP, we have our own boxing gym (VSP Boxing) where boxers under company management are trained for professional matches.  We also have our own boxing promotions company (VSP Promotions).  We even have our own boxing event brand called Victory8.  What I am about to tell you is something which happens behind the curtains that may help you understand why some boxing matches end up favoring a boxer who you are quite sure lost the match.

Winner Nguyen Van Duong posing with the ring girls in Victory8 Legends of Hoan Kiem

To fully understand what happens, you need to put yourself in the shoe of the Boxer and his/her manager. the manager generally thinks that if the boxer has an "unbeaten" record, it will help him go up the rank.  This achieves two objectives.  It can lead to the manager asking more money for the boxer to fight from the promoter.  Secondly, the manager is hoping that a streak of victorious matches will allow the boxer to fight for the championship title which can be quite lucrative.  Depending on the country/region, a regional championship title can earn 5~10,000 USD while world title can be anywhere from 50,000~1,000,000 dollars earning per fight depending on many factors which I will post another time.  So, if you are the manager for the boxer, you would think your job is to try to get the boxer to fight an opponent whom you are quite confident can be beaten.  (This often leads to a terrible quality fight because it is lopsided match).

Promoter (that's us) is the company that organizes and pays for everything and everyone.  Here, "everyone" includes the boxers, referees, and the judges.  Now, what happens when boxers are managed by a company instead of an individual? And what if that company happens to also be the "Promoter" of an event in which those boxers fight?  

Jye Lane Taylor vs Nguyen Van Hai in Victory8 Saigon Fight night

Let's think about a situation whereVSP has organized a boxing event in Vietnam between our Vietnamese fighters and Thai fighters. To make the scoring "fair", VSP flies in referees & judges (R&J) from Japan, China, and the Philippines.  The promoter would be paying for their flight tickets, their fees, hotel, meals, as well as transportation.  Lobbying can start even before the R&J arrive in Vietnam.  

Danilo Creati about to throw his right uppercut against Tran Duc Tho in Victory8 Welcome to Vietnam
Danilo Creati about to throw his right uppercut against Tran Duc Tho in Victory8 Welcome to Vietnam

Iconic image of Truong Dinh Hoang against Mateo Tapia in Victory8 Saigon Fight Night
Iconic image of Truong Dinh Hoang against Mateo Tapia in Victory8 Saigon Fight Night

How about this: The promoter upgrades the flights of R&J to a business class and personally picks them up from the airport.  The promoter then put them in a nice hotel with complementary drinks and takes them out to good restaurants.  There, he talks about how wonderful some of the boxers are in the event (our boxers of course).  The promoter never once said who the judges should vote for but as you can see, the R&J may have started to develop a certain bias.

Vu Thanh Dat is declared victorious against Jino Rodrigo in Victory8 Welcome to Vietnam
Vu Thanh Dat is declared victorious against Jino Rodrigo in Victory8 Welcome to Vietnam

Did you know that R&J are often part time jobs for many? Imagine you are one of the judges invited to come to Vietnam.  You are treated very well, paid well, and even taken around by the promoter for shopping.  You know that some of the boxers in the event are managed by the promoter.  Now, let's say the fight was a close fight, who would you favor?  If you voted against the promoter's boxer, maybe you won't be invited in the next event.  Perhaps your professionalism would be so solid that none of these treatments would affect your judgement but would you be able to say the same for all of your peers?

Danilo Creati vs Tran Duc Tho in intense fight. Victory8 Welcome to Vietnam
Danilo Creati vs Tran Duc Tho in intense fight. Victory8 Welcome to Vietnam

At VSP, we don't believe in setting up our boxers to win in a match. How would a boxer improve if he is fighting an opponent worse than him all the time? We think this is a remanent of the old ways. Instead, we match our fighters such that the spectators would enjoy watching!  What is the point of putting up boring shit fights that nobody wants to watch?  We tell all our boxers, "It is not our job to make you win.  It is our job to give you worthy challengers that will push yourself to be better" The boxing world need to change and embrace a new paradigm where the focus should be putting up fights that are 50:50 and that leads to exciting fights that viewers can appreciate and thus drive more following.  

Let's change the old ways and make Boxing Great Again!